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Anti-Semitic incidents in Australia have soared over the past year, with 447 reported cases amounting to a 35 percent increase over the same period in 2020.

Julie Nathan, research director of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ), told the organization’s annual conference on Sunday that the number of incidents was 167 higher than the annual national average of 280 recorded between 2013 and 2020, the Australian Jewish News reported.

She blamed the May conflict between Israel and Hamas and the pandemic for fuelling a rise in anti-Semitism.

Incidents included 272 cases of physical assault, verbal abuse, harassment, graffiti and threats made through email, phone and mail.

She aded that while abuse, harassment and vandalism were significantly higher, incidents of graffiti had surged by 152 percent, and anti-Semitic stickers and posters by 157 percent.

The eight physical assaults that occurred matched the number from 2020.

The organization noted that during the May fighting, the Australian Jewish community experienced targeted attacks on synagogues, schools, Jewish businesses and homes.

Signs at demonstrations featured the Star of David compared to swastikas and other Nazi symbols.

Nathan also spoke about an extreme anti-Israel rally that occurred in Sydney in May organized by the Islamist Hizb ut-Tahrir group where speakers led chants attacking Jews, and vowed to “destroyed the Jews” and “give us the necks of the Jews.”

That event is current under police investigation.

She also mentioned that the largest neo-Nazi group in Australia, the National Socialist Network, is currently active in recruiting, group activities and distributing propaganda. The group has a busy online presence, “vilifying Jews, citing The Protocols of the Elders of Zion as fact, support for Hitler, and the like.”

“The National Socialist Network’s long-term goal is to be at the vanguard and take power within the next 10 years,” Nathan said. Its aim is to “institute a regime of national socialism in Australia.”

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