Report: Violent anti-Semitic incidents worldwide rises 40 percent

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The number of violent anti-Semitic incidents worldwide increased by nearly 40 percent, according to a new report.

Some 766 violent anti-Semitic acts were registered around the world in 2014, up sharply from the 554 violent anti-Semitic incidents logged in 2013.

The highest number of violent incidents was as for the last several years registered in France, with 164 compared to 141 in 2013.

The findings were released Wednesday, on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day, by The Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry at Tel Aviv University, and were prepared in cooperation with the European Jewish Congress.

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Violent anti-Semitic acts are considered by the report as those perpetrated with or without weapons and by arson, vandalism or direct threats against Jewish persons or institutions such as synagogues, community centers, schools, cemeteries and monuments as well as private property.

Among the other countries where there was a sharp rise in violent incidents were the United Kingdom, with 141 compared to 95 the previous year; Australia, with 30 compared to 11; Germany, with 76 or more than double the 36 incidents in 2013;  Austria , with 9 compared to 4 the previous year; Italy, with 23 compared to 12, the previous year; Sweden, with 17 compared to only 3 in 2013; Belgium, with 30 compared to 11; and South Africa, with 14 compared to 1 in 2013.

“Many streets in our European cities have become hunting grounds for Jews, and some Jews are now forced to avoid community institutions and synagogues as a result,” said Dr. Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress, in a statement. “Some are choosing to leave the continent, many are afraid to walk the streets and even more are retreating behind high walls and barbed wire. This has become the new reality of Jewish life in Europe.”

Kantor called for stronger security measures to prevent further loss of life, and attacks against Jews.  “The fight must be taken to the attackers instead of allowing it to affect the everyday lives of the victims. We need to move from defense to offense,” Kantor said.

The report found that during 2014, there were 68 attacks on Jews and their property and institutions with weapons; more than double the number the previous year, and 101 cases of weaponless violence. The number of arson cases more than tripled over 2013, and there were 412 incidents of vandalism. More than 306 people were targets of attacks, a two-thirds increase over 2013. Some 114 attacks on synagogues marked an increase of 70 percent. In addition, 57 community centers and schools, 118 cemeteries and memorial sites, and 171 private properties were targeted.