Horrific report: Number of Jews killed in anti-Semitic attacks reaches all-time high in past year
Marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Israeli Ministry of Diaspora Affairs comes out with a report on escalating anti-Semitism during past year. “Strengthening our unity more important than ever,” says Rabbi Brander of Ohr Torah Stone
By Merav Cohen | Kipa News
January 27, 2019
(Translated from Hebrew)
Following a year of escalating anti-Semitism across the USA and Europe, the Israeli Ministry of Diaspora Affairs announces the findings of the 2018 report on anti-Semitism, revealing some worrying figures.
The past year opened with the murder of Jewish student, Blaze Bernstein, followed by a surge in hate crimes on campuses and reaching a peak with the horrific massacre of 11 Sabbath worshippers at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.
While Islamist anti-Semitism posed the greatest threat and danger to Jewish communities in previous years, 2018 saw a change in trend; today the greatest threat to Jewish communities is anti-Semitism perpetrated by far-right activists.
Marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett, presented the anti-Semitism report for the past year at the annual cabinet meeting and said as follows: “The State of Israel is safe and strong and is a world power when it comes to fighting terrorism, and bears the responsibility to assist our millions of Jewish brethren in the Diaspora in the face of the heightened waves of anti-Semitic attacks.”
The report further states that Jews are subject to more than half of all hate crimes perpetrated on the basis of religion in the USA. Furthermore, in the FBI Report on Crime Statistics for 2017 under the category of “Hate crimes motivated by bias against religion” 1679 incidents are listed. 58.1% of these were anti-Semitic hate crimes.
The report also portrays a difficult situation in Europe, where the increasing waves of immigration serve to heighten anti-Semitism. The number of reported anti-Semitic attacks in Britain is at a record high for the second year in a row. Neo-Nazi rallies are becoming more and more common and the overall feeling of European Jewry – both as individuals and as communities – is that anti-Semitism has gone up a notch and has become popular and an almost trivial matter.
A survey conducted by the European Union shows that 85% of European Jews believe that anti-Semitism is a problem in their country; 89% believe that anti-Semitism has been on the rise in the past five years and 38% have deliberated emigrating due to the rise in anti-Semitism and the decline in personal safety. The survey showed further that 80% of all incidents are not reported.
Rabbi Kenneth Brander, President and Rosh HaYeshiva of the Ohr Torah Stone network, said in response to the report: “The worrisome findings published today by the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs, both about the increase in the number of anti-Semitic incidents and their victims in various countries around the world, as well as the undermining of the Jewish communities’ sense of security, are an important reminder of the need for us to embrace Jewish communities in the Diaspora in general, and in particular those in which anti-Semitism is on the rise.
“Especially today, as we mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day, it is important to remember that Jews have long been persecuted – regardless of which faction they belong to or what they believe – solely because of their Jewish roots. Therefore, strengthening our unity and the principle that, as Chazal say, “All of Israel is responsible for one another” are more important than ever.
“Fortunately, today, thanks to the existence of the State of Israel and in contrast to the dark days of Nazism, we have the capabilities and the means to ensure that Jewish blood will no longer be forsaken. At the same time, we must not allow the present reality to drag us into a situation in which our Jewish identity is defined and shaped by anti-Semitic words and actions. Rather, Ohr Torah Stone’s students, educators, spiritual leaders, and 300 emissaries around the world say to all those who wish to harm us: we will continue to base our Jewish identity, our activities and our Jewish pride on the values of love, peace and morality which have accompanied us as a people and as a nation from time immemorial, and which we will continue to share with the entire world.”