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 from the 554 logged in the previous year, The Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry at Tel Aviv University found.
The report released Wednesday, on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day, was prepared in cooperation with the European Jewish Congress..
France had the the most violent incidents with 164, compared to 141 in 2013.
According to the report, violent anti-Semitic acts are considered 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 reasons given for the steep rise in 2014 incidents was Israel’s Operation Protective Edge in Gaza in July and August, and the demonstrations against the operation that took place mainly in Western and Central Europe.
According to the report, the “ISIS phenomenon,” in which cruelty and violence is so blatant, also affected the number of incidents.
Among the other countries that had a sharp rise in violent incidents were the United Kingdom, with 141 compared to 95 the previous year; Australia, 30 from 11; Germany, 76 from 36; Austria, nine from four; Italy, 23 from 12; Sweden, 17 from three; Belgium, 30 from 11; and South Africa, 14 from one.
“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,” Dr. Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress, said 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,” he said. “We need to move from defense to offense.”
The report found that in 2014, there were 68 attacks on Jews and their property and institutions with weapons, more than double the number of the previous year, and 101 cases of weaponless violence. The number of arson cases more than tripled from 2013, and there were 412 incidents of vandalism in 2014. Some 306 people were targets of attacks, a two-thirds increase over 2013. The 114 attacks on synagogues marked a 70 percent increase. In addition, 57 community centers and schools, 118 cemeteries and memorial sites, and 171 private properties were targeted.