Pew Research Center: Global Harassment Of Jews Has Reached A Seven-Year High

The number of countries where Jewish people are mistreated is at a seven-year high.

According to the Pew Research Center, about a quarter of the world’s countries are still struggling to respect the religious minorities living with their borders. Jews have had it especially hard.

Harassment of Jewish people was reported in 77 countries in 2013, the latest year for which data is available. That’s up from 71 countries in 2012.

The Pew Center’s annual study looked 198 countries and self-administering territories for evidence of two types of religious restrictions. Governmental restrictions happen when a country tries to control specific religious groups or enacts discriminatory laws. The second type of restriction involves social hostilities, which are committed by individuals or groups and range from vandalism to violent assaults.

Christians are more likely to experience harassment by some level of the government. Jews, who make up 0.2 percent of the world’s population, were more likely to be harassed by individuals or groups.

o-JEWS-570The anti-Semitic sentiment was particularly widespread in Europe. Out of the region’s 45 countries, Jews faced harassment in 34.

The threats were both verbal and physical. In the city of Pinto in Spain, vandals painted a large swastika on a bullring and scrawled in the words, “Hitler was right.” In Norway, a popular newspaper sparked outrage by printing a cartoon that poked fun at the practice of ritual circumcision.

France is home to Europe’s largest Jewish population and its citizens are increasingly worried about anti-Semitism. About 7,000 resettled in Israel in 2014, the AP reports. Recently, vandals caused damage to hundreds of graves at a Jewish cemetery in eastern France.

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