Anti-Semitic incidents rise in schools but drop overall in Netherlands

Center for Information and Documentation on Israel says last year saw 26% decline from 2014 peak of 171 attacks

Illustrative: Dutch rabbis in the Amsterdam suburb of Buitenveldert. (David Serphos/JTA)
Illustrative: Dutch rabbis in the Amsterdam suburb of Buitenveldert. (David Serphos/JTA)

AMSTERDAM — A watchdog on anti-Semitism in the Netherlands recorded a 26 percent decrease in anti-Semitic incidents in 2015 over the previous year but noted a “worrisome trend” in the growing number of incidents involving schools.

The Center for Information and Documentation on Israel, or CIDI, recorded 126 incidents last year, compared to the 171 in 2014, according to its report published Monday. The 2014 number was the peak year for incidents.

Despite the decrease, the number of incidents in 2015 is the second highest since 2010, which had 124.

Last year, 36 incidents were in the victims’ direct environment, meaning those involving neighbors or acquaintances the victims knew as opposed to anonymous threats and abuse online, read the CIDI report. Five incidents involved physical violence against people and six were cases of vandalism.

The most common category of incident was insults shouted or spoken on the street, accounting for 19 percent of the total, or 24 incidents. There were 12 cases of online anti-Semitic harassment in the form of emails and electronic messages.

One case featuring violence was reported in Amsterdam by a non-Jewish woman of Moroccan descent who is married to a Moroccan Jew. Parents of her daughter’s classmates pressured and confronted her during school activities over her relationship with the Jewish man, she said. A father of her daughter’s classmate grabbed the woman by her throat after calling her a “Jew’s whore” and threatening to shoot her at a swimming pool, the report said.

CIDI did not press charges because the victim declined to cooperate.

Incidents involving schools were the highest recorded in a decade, with 16 cases. Noting a steady increase in that category over the past three years, CIDI director Hanna Luden called it “a worrisome trend” in a statement.

The report was published amid increased attention in recent days to the prospect of Jewish emigration from the Netherlands because of anti-Semitism. Dutch media interviewed some worried Jews following an anecdotal report by Ynet on the discomfort of some Dutch Jews in the Netherlands.

However, immigration to Israel from the Netherlands is low compared to neighboring Belgium and France.

In 2015, a total of 96 Dutch citizens made aliyah, the highest figure recorded in a decade but still less than 0.2 percent of the total Jewish population of the Netherlands, which is estimated at 50,000.

France provided Israel with nearly 8,000 immigrants in 2015, or 1.6 percent of that country’s Jewish community. Belgium, which has 40,000 Jews, saw 287 Jews leave for Israel last year.

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