JA urges Putin to fight anti-Semitism

Increasing hate-related incidents in Russia, Ukraine concern Jewish Agency.

moscow shul attack 298.8 (photo credit: AP)
moscow shul attack 298.8
(photo credit: AP)
Both Russia and Ukraine have seen an increase in the number of violent anti-Semitic incidents over the last year, while France has experienced a small decline, according to statistics to be released Wednesday by the Global Forum Against Anti-Semitism. Amos Hermon, chairman of the Education department at the Agency, told The Jerusalem Post, "We are greatly concerned and are strongly imploring President Putin to take further significant steps to curb the actions of these local neo-Nazi hooligans." Citing recent attacks such as the stabbings of eight Jews in a Moscow synagogue, and a Chabad member in Kiev, Hermon added that both Jewish and non-Jewish organizations had helped to collate the data which firmly supported what he described as "worrying" conclusions. The Global Forum Against Anti-Semitism had predicted the trend of escalating attacks two years ago due to what is said was general societal xenophobia that has been sweeping through the region since the fall of communism. "Certain sectors of Russian society feel threatened by the large numbers of immigrants from other Eastern European countries who they see as taking their jobs," Hermon said. "Unfortunately Jews have also been caught up in this affair." Yet, according to Jewish Agency spokesperson Michael Jankelowitz, there has been a clear reduction in anti-Semitic violence in France, which he attributed in large part to "the drastic steps taken by the French government to clamp down on radical Islamists." During the press conference to be held at Beit Agron in Jerusalem one day before International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Avraham Hirschson, minister of communications and of tourism, as well as Ze'ev Bielski, minister for Israeli society and the world Jewish community and Jewish Agency chairman, will present a summary of other recent anti-Semitic incidents around the world, with suggestions for attempting to combat the phenomenon. The Global Forum Against Anti-Semitism is also due present its findings to Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and his cabinet, who will then make a visit to Yad Vashem before the special afternoon Knesset assembly in honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.