Social hostilities toward Jews, meanwhile, remained at high levels in Europe: In 2015, 33 of the continent’s 45 countries (73%) had incidents of social hostilities aimed at Jews, a slight increase from 32 countries (71%) the previous year.
Social hostilities are defined as actions aimed at members of religious groups by private individuals and social groups. These actions can include hostile rhetoric, vandalism and physical assaults. They differ from government restrictions on religion, which also increased in Europe in 2015.
In Russia in April, individuals fired at a synagogue that was under construction, breaking the windows and writing anti-Semitic graffiti. And in Italy, 25 members of the neo-Nazi movement Stormfront were ordered to stand trial in July for alleged anti-Semitic hate speech. In a separate incident in Italy in October, anti-Semitic graffiti was placed on a University of Teramo wall during the visit of the Israeli ambassador, who was there to launch a course on the Holocaust.
Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom, the Community Security Trust reported 86 violent anti-Semitic assaults. And in February 2015, a young Jewish man wearing a yarmulke was assaulted by two men in Belgium. The next month, attackers in Ukraine severely beat a Jewish surgeon, allegedly while shouting anti-Semitic rhetoric.