Photo Credit: Johannes G. Hauer / Wikimedia Commons
Wall of the synagogue in Baden (Austria), naming the Jewish communities in Lower Austria before 1938.

A Jewish organization in Vienna says anti-Semitism in Austria is at its highest level in years.

The group representing the Jewish community is an NGO (non-governmental organization) called the Israelitischen Kultusgemeinde, or IKG.

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Data presented to the IKG by a second group, the Forum Against Anti-Semitism (Forum gegen Antisemitismus) indicates last year there were 465 incidents involving anti-Semitism, as compared to 255 such incidents in 2014 – an 82 percent rise.

In 2015, nearly half of the incidents involved Islamic anti-Semitism online (205 cases), according to IKG President Oskar Deutsch. There were 85 anti-Semitic incidents online in 2014.

Around 15,000 Jews live in Austria.

“There is an increasing concern in our community that – if the proportion of Muslims in Austria continues to rise due to immigration, due to the refugees – this could become problematic for us,” IKG secretary-general Raimund Fastenbauer told the European Jewish Press.

The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) has urged the European Union and its member states to increase efforts to combat widespread anti-Semitic cyber hate.

Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz reacted to the report by affirming, “Jewish life must be protected in Austria. It is the duty of the state to make Jewish people in Austria feel secure; that is for us as Austria a great responsibility.”

However, Sebastian did not outline any concrete plan to address the issue, nor did he offer any suggestion to the Jewish community on how to mitigate the threat.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.