Study Shows Terrorist Hit Non-jewish Targets at Higher Rate Than Israeli or Jewish Ones During 1980-
Menu JTA Search

Study Shows Terrorist Hit Non-jewish Targets at Higher Rate Than Israeli or Jewish Ones During 1980-

Download PDF for this date

Middle East terrorist actually struck at non-Jewish targets at a higher rate than Israeli or Jewish ones during the first five years of the 1980’s, a study released here shows.

The study, prepared by the World Jewish Congress, presents a comprehensive statistical analysis of terrorism against Jewish and Israeli targets in Europe from 1980-1985.

It finds that of 154 terrorist attacks on Jewish and Israeli targets during the period, the 20 most devastating were carried out by individuals connected with Palestinian terrorist organizations. These 20 attacks accounted for 70 percent of all fatalities and casualties.

Bystanders were especially at risk, the study shows. In these attacks, the majority of victims were passers-by who did not directly belong to the target group, the study notes.


Although the terrorists generally claim an anti-Israel motivation, the study finds that in three out of four incidents the targets were local Jewish community institutions — such as synagogues — rather than specifically Israeli-related targets. “The statistics belie the political claims of these murderers, demonstrating they act out of base racism and anti-Semitic motives,” the WJC states.

But the terrorists do not target only Jews. During the period analyzed, Middle Eastern terrorist attacks resulted in 1,387 casualties. Of these, 747 individuals (54 percent of the total) were non-Jewish.

The report stresses, however, that statistics cannot tell the whole story. “Statistical accounts do not express the sense of intimidation which is today prevalent among Jewish communities in Europe as actual and potential targets of local and international terrorism.”

The study, “Terrorism against Jewish and Israeli Targets in Europe, 1980-1985,” was prepared by the WJC research arm, the Institute of Jewish Affairs, and is based on reports made available by the national Jewish communities in Europe.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund