A new study released its findings on Wednesday, exposing how acts of violent anti-Semitism in Europe positively skyrocketed in 2014.
The report, conducted by the Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry at Tel Aviv University, was prepared together with the European Jewish Congress (EJC).
It found a full 766 violent anti-Semitic acts in Europe last year, committed either with or without weapons and via arson, vandalism, or direct threats against Jews or Jewish institutions such as synagogues, schools, community centers and others.
The findings constitute a rapid increase of 38% when compared to the results of 2013, in which 554 violent anti-Semitic incidents were reported.
EJC President Dr. Moshe Kantor discussed the results, saying "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."
"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," said Kantor.
Breaking down the incidents, the report found attacks against Jews and their institutions made up a total of 68 reported cases, more than double the number in 2013. In addition there were 101 cases of direct violence without weapons.
The number of Jews violently assaulted included over 306 people, a 66% rise in comparison to 2013.
Arson cases more than tripled between 2013 and 2014, and there were a full 412 incidents of vandalism last year as well. There were 114 attacks on synagogues, marking a 70% increase, 57 attacks on community centers and schools, 118 on cemeteries and memorial sites, and 171 attacks against Jewish private properties.
France, UK leading the way
Looking at the violent anti-Semitism by country, the report found that France is leading Europe as it has for several years in a row. There were 164 violent incidents in France last year as compared to 141 the year before.
The UK did not fall far behind, reaching 141 violent Anti-Semitic events, the same total that France had last year. The year before that, the figure was 95, showing how violent anti-Semitism is growing rapidly in the UK.
Germany likewise ranked highly with 76 incidents compared to just 36 the year before; Sweden made a shocking jump from a mere 3 incidents to 17, Belgium went from 11 to 30, Italy boosted from 12 to 23, and Austria rose from 4 to 9. The report also included in its scope Australia, which went from 11 to 30, and South Africa, which had only one incident in 2013 but 14 in 2014.
"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,” said Kantor, calling for harsher measures to defend Jewish lives.
EJC delegations led by Kantor have been meeting with EU First Vice President Frans Timmermans and EU High Commissioner for security and Foreign affairs Federica Mogherini in recent weeks, asking for a special EU Envoy and Task Force to combat the rising wave of anti-Semitism.
In America, Congress just last month launched its own Bipartisan Taskforce for Combating Anti-Semitism to address rising anti-Semitism in the US.
"We need a pan-EU body that will coordinate intelligence efforts between member state and the sharing of such information, assist with legislation changes to enable the member states to address this challenge with proper tools and deal with training and security measures in the protection of Jewish institutions by the authorities.” Kantor said.
He concluded, "the current system is failing to deal with this problem or to prevent the next attack."