The year 2006 saw a sharp rise in incidents of anti-Semitism worldwide, and the highest total number of incidents since 2000, according to a study released Sunday by the Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Anti-Semitism and Racism in conjunction with the World Jewish Congress to correspond with Holocaust Memorial Day.A total of 590 incidents of violence or vandalism were reported in 2006 against Jews, Jewish property and Jewish institutions.The number of physical assaults on Jews was twice as high as it was 2005, the report stated.Since the incidents occur as matters of circumstance, it is difficult to identify the attackers and bring them to trial. Still, the majority of the assailants were Muslim immigrants and extreme right-wing youths, it said.In 2006, incidents of harassment at schools and Jewish community centers also doubled from 2005. The number of synagogues desecrated also rose by a third.The countries with the greatest rise in anti-Semitism were Great Britain, Australia, France and Canada.In Great Britain, the number of violent anti-Semitic incidents was highest in the past 20 years, as more than 100 Jews were assaulted.The number of violent incidents in France rose by 45 percent and doubled in Canada.The head of the institute, Prof. Dina Porat, said the two principle events that encouraged anti-Semitism were the efforts of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to deny the Holocaust, and the Second Lebanon War.During the war, "even the world's mainstream journalism portrayed the figure of the Jew as characterized by brutality," Porat said.
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