WZO Official: Antwerp Stabbing 'Not Surprising'

Yaakov Hagoel of the World Zionist Organization warns of increased anti-Semitism throughout Europe.

Shimon Cohen,

Security for Jews in Belgium (file)
Security for Jews in Belgium (file)
Joods Actueel/Flash 90

Yaakov Hagoel, head of the Department for Combating Anti-Semitism at the World Zionist Organization, told Arutz Sheva on Sunday that he was not surprised by the stabbing of a Jewish man in Antwerp.

"Unfortunately, we are receiving reports about incidents such as this all the time,” he said, noting that there has been a substantial increase in violent anti-Semitic incidents in Belgium. He stressed that he was not talking about graffiti and other similar incidents, but rather about real violence against Jews.

"It's not just in Belgium," said Hagoel. "There has been a wave of anti-Semitism since Operation Protective Edge. Over the last decade there has been an increase in cases of violent anti-Semitism. Every year there are more incidents than in the previous year. This worries us and we are trying to combat it.”

As to how to fight the phenomenon, Hagoel noted that the main objective is to raise public awareness. “People close their eyes and bury their heads in the sand. We are told by community leaders they life can go on as usual,” he said.

"The Israeli government and the Jewish Agency are trying to strengthen the Jewish communities around the world and raise their spirits but we are in a difficult time period," added Hagoel, adding that there is a problem with some of parliaments in Europe, where anti-Semitic parties have gained power.

"We are concerned over parliaments in which there are anti-Semitic political parties, such as in Hungary where 21 percent of all MPs are anti-Semitic. This means that one in five members of parliament is anti-Semitic.”

At the same time, Hagoel told Arutz Sheva, “The glass is also half-full”. An example of this, he said, can be found in France, where the government has taken charge ever since the 2012 attack in Toulouse.

As for the European internalization of the danger of Islamic terrorism in light of what is happening with the Islamic State (ISIS), Hagoel said, “We are seeing the beginning of a recognition of the issue but it is too little and too late. Last week, leaflets calling for Jews to be run down were distributed in certain countries. We are a global village and what happens here has an effect over there as well.”


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