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Antisemitism Worldwide Report for 2023

Concern for the Future of Jewish Life in the West

The Annual Antisemitism Worldwide Report, published by Tel Aviv University and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), reveals that 2023 saw an increase of dozens of percentage points in the number of antisemitic incidents in Western countries in comparison to 2022. A particularly steep increase was recorded following the October 7 attacks, but the first nine months of 2023, before the war started, also witnessed a relative increase in the number of incidents in most countries with large Jewish minorities, including the United States, France, the UK, Australia, Italy, Brazil, and Mexico. 

“October 7th helped spread a fire that was already out of control,” states the Report.

Link to the full report

Countries recording steep increases

According to the Report, in New York, the city with the largest Jewish population in the world, NYPD recorded 325 anti-Jewish hate crimes in 2023 in comparison to the 261 it recorded in 2022, LAPD recorded 165 in comparison to 86, and CPD 50 in comparison to 39. The ADL recorded 7,523 incidents in 2023 compared to 3,697 in 2022 (and according to a broader definition applied, it recorded 8,873); the number of assaults increased from 111 in 2022 to 161 in 2023 and of vandalism from 1,288 to 2,106. 

Other countries also saw dramatic increases in the number of antisemitic attacks, according to data collected by the Report from governmental agencies, law enforcement authorities, Jewish organizations, media, and fieldwork. 

In France, the number of incidents increased from 436 in 2022 to 1,676 in 2023 (the number of physical assaults increased from 43 to 85); in the UK from 1, 662 to 4,103 (physical assaults from 136 to 266); in Argentina from 427 to 598; in Germany from 2,639 to 3,614; in Brazil from 432 to 1,774; in South Africa from 68 to 207; in Mexico from 21 to 78; in the Netherlands from 69 to 154; in Italy from 241 to 454; and in Austria from 719 to 1,147. Australia recorded 622 antisemitic incidents in October and November 2023, in comparison to 79 during the same period in 2022.


Antisemitic incidents increased also before October 7th

While the dramatic increases in comparison to 2022 largely followed October 7, the Report emphasizes that most countries with large Jewish minorities saw relative increases also in the first nine months of 2023, before the war started. For example, in the United States, ADL data (based on the narrower definition for antisemitic incidents) point to an increase from 1,000 incidents in October-December 2022 to 3,976 in the same period in 2023, but also to an increase from 2,697 incidents between January-September 2022 to 3,547 in the same period in 2023 (NYPD registered a decrease in that period, while LAPD an increase). 

In France, the number of incidents during January-September 2023 increased to 434 from 329 during the same period in 2022; in Britain – from 1,270 to 1,404. In Australia, 371 incidents were recorded between January and September 2023, compared to 363 in the same period in 2022. On the other hand, Germany and Austria, where national programs for fighting antisemitism are applied, saw decreases.

Prof. Shavit: “Concern that the curtain will descend on Jewish life in the West”

According to Prof. Uriya Shavit, Head of The Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry and the Irwin Cotler Institute, “The year is not 1938, not even 1933. Yet if current trends continue, the curtain will descend on the ability to lead Jewish lives in the West – to wear a Star of David, attend synagogues and community centers, send kids to Jewish schools, frequent a Jewish club on campus, or speak Hebrew”.

Shavit said: “With bomb threats against synagogues becoming a daily occurrence, Jewish existence in the West is forced to fortify itself, and the more it does so, the more the sense of security and normalcy is undermined. What the fight against antisemitism needs now is efforts focused on the hubs of poison, and the presentation of measurable and attainable goals. Foremost, the reality in which big companies make big money by spreading big hate has to end”.

Prof. Shavit added: “The reality is that Israel, as a state, is limited in what it can do for Jewish communities. But even the little that can be done is not done. Israel does not have a meaningful strategic plan for combatting antisemitism that is based on the needs of Jewish communities. The main contributions of the government are pompous statements and sporadic initiatives. Responsibility for combatting antisemitism should be delegated to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, whose officials are professionals who know the Jewish communities firsthand. The Ministry for Diaspora Affairs and Combatting Antisemitism is redundant. A small example of just how much so: A few months ago, we noted in another report that the link provided on their website in English for reporting antisemitic incidents leads to an empty page. It made headlines in the media. And what happened? Nothing. No one bothered to fix it. It still leads to an empty page. There are no limits to the negligence and lack of professionalism”.

According to Prof. Shavit, “one of the biggest challenges of our time is how to mobilize support for the fight against antisemitism without making it the definer of Jewish identity”. 


Prof. Uriya Shavit.

ADL Head Greenblatt: “A Tsunami of Hate”

ADL’s CEO and National Director, Jonathan Greenblatt, said: “The aftermath of Hamas’s horrific attack on Israel on October 7th was followed by a tsunami of hate against Jewish communities worldwide. Unprecedented levels of antisemitism have surged globally in the streets of London, New York, Paris, Santiago, Johannesburg and beyond. This year’s report is incredibly alarming, with documented unprecedented levels of antisemitism, including in the US, where 2023 saw the highest number of antisemitic incidents in the US ever recorded by ADL. We are proud to partner with Tel Aviv University on this important annual report which will be used to inform governments and civil society and help push back against antisemitic trends”.

In a special essay for the Report, Greenblatt wrote: “Antisemitism isn’t just an abstract issue. It is a real-life threat to Jewish life in America and Jews around the world, and our history teaches us that we do not have the luxury to be indifferent when moments like these occur. That means we need to be clear-eyed about the threats we face and have the determination to confront them”.

An Emergency Plan by former Canadian Justice Minister

Former Canadian Justice Minister and Attorney General Irwin Cotler offers in the Report a historical and political analysis of the development of present-day antisemitism and a detailed 11-point plan for globally combatting the phenomenon. Cotler warns that “the explosion of antisemitism is a threat not only to Jews, but is toxic to our democracies, an assault on our common humanity, and a standing threat to human security – in a word, the bloodied canary in the mineshaft of global evil. Jews alone cannot combat it, let alone defeat it. What is required is a constituency of conscience – a whole of government, whole of society commitment and action to fight this oldest and most lethal of hatreds”. 

The 150-page Report includes in-depth essays on different countries, as well as a study on the profiles of the spreaders of antisemitic content on X (formally Twitter). The essays examine, among other issues, the proliferation of antisemitic discourses in the Arab world, Turkey, and Iran following October 7 and trace their roots. The Report argues that “any future diplomatic negotiations must prioritize the uprooting of antisemitism from Arab societies”.

“The fringes encroach on the political center”

The Report notes that hate speech was articulated already before Israel launched its campaign in Gaza, including on leading university campuses, and thus urged against seeing the recent wave of antisemitism as an emotional response to the war. “Some antisemitic attackers emphasize their problem is with Israel, not with Jews, and then attack Jews and Jewish institutions.” 

Dr. Carl Yonker, Senior Researcher and Project Manager at the “Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry,” TAU, who wrote a study for the Report on antisemitism in the United States, said: “Contrary to the conventional wisdom, post-October 7 incidents were also led from the far right in America. Neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and others glorified Hamas and used the war to spread antisemitic propaganda along with conspiracy theories, according to which the crisis will advance the replacement of the white majority in the West by migrants from the Middle East. The fringes in the United States are encroaching on the political center from both right and left, making combatting antisemitism much trickier”.

Scapegoating Jews in Russia

The Report notes the impossibility of reliably tracking antisemitic incidents in Russia at the present. An extensive essay in the Report examines the antisemitic rhetoric of the Russian dictator Putin and members of his regime. The Report notes that “At the beginning of 2023, the Chief Rabbi of Moscow in exile, Pinchas Goldschmidt, warned that Jews should leave Russia before they are scapegoated. Sadly, 2023 did not disprove the words of this wise and courageous religious leader.”

On the part of Tel Aviv University, the Report was researched by the Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry with the support of The Adam and Gila Milstein Family Foundation and the Irwin Cotler Institute for Democracy, Human Rights and Justice with the support of Richard and Elaine Dubrovsky and Sara Vered. 

See full Report here

How Does Science Make Us Fall in Love?

From ancient spells to smelling like other animals, the lengths we go to for love have always been remarkable.

Are you the sort of person who plans their Valentine’s Day weeks or months in advance with their partner, or the sort who wakes up on February 14th and scrambles up a plan? Either way, It’s hard to imagine that you’ve never heard of this holiday before, which started out as a Christian religious celebration of Saint Valentinus and morphed into the world’s international Day of Love celebration.

But of course, love isn’t a modern invention, and while a major holiday to celebrate being in a relationship didn’t always exist in every culture, the desire to make the people we love pay attention to us and return our affections has always been part of humanity. In fact, according to Prof. Gideon Bohak of the Department of Jewish Philosophy and the Talmud at The Lester and Sally Entin Faculty of Humanities, people were creating love spells 1,500 years ago that are still, amazingly, in use today.

I Put A Spell On You

Prof. Bohak studies ancient Jewish magic and sorcery and claims that “the relationship between love and magic is ancient, and Jewish magic has a lot to say about relationships between two individuals. For example, archeological digs at the ruins of Rimon, next to Kibbutz Lahav, uncovered pottery pieces with an inscription adjuring six angels to set R.’s heart on fire so she would fall in love with A” (unfortunately, the names of R. and A. were not fully preserved).

But not only were people trying to get their crush to notice them back then, according to Prof. Bohak: “while these pieces of pottery were created in the 5th or 6th century CE, they were based on a “recipe” that continued to be in use by people who engage in “practical Kabbalah” until the modern era. These pieces of clay and the recipe itself are evidence of the continuation of Jewish magic from ancient times until this very day”.

The Scent of Passion

Thinking of getting that special someone a bottle of perfume to show your love? It turns out that smell is a means by which humans, like other animals, can manipulate those around them. Prof. Mel Rosenberg from the Department for Human Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry at the Sackler Faculty of Medicine studies body chemistry, pheromones and our reactions to body odor.

“Why are we attracted to the smell of flowers, which are nothing more than a kind of plant? I don’t know”, Prof. Rosenberg says. “But it’s interesting that we don’t just like those flowery smells, but also the smells of certain animals. For example, there are the musk deer, whose genitals were used to create a pleasant smell that was considered attractive to humans. Today hunting the musk deer is illegal, of course, but we produce the same smell synthetically, in perfumes”.

“Why are we willing to pay so much money for a tiny bottle of perfume? Because perfume ‘creates a great lie’. Each one of us has a unique odor. If we don’t like the smell of a person, then it hurts the relationship. On the contrary, if we find a potential mate’s odor compatible then this has a positive effect on the attraction. Perfume lets us fool our partner. Instead of smelling us, they smell Coco Chanel or Tommy Hilfiger. And then, before you know it, you’re married before the truth comes out”.

It’s likely that most people already get a real sense of their partner’s scent before committing to marriage, Yet Professor Rosenberg’s insight suggests that this act may hold a similar significance to a modern-day enchantment.

Have you ever thought of casting a magic love spell on someone? Or is the kind of “deception” that comes in a small, fancy bottle enough for you? Whatever the case, it’s clear that Valentine’s Day is here to stay, since us humans aren’t giving up on romancing any time soon.

Unearthing Ancient Intelligence

Early humans in Israel’s Hula Valley invested in systematic procurement of raw materials hundreds of thousands of years ago – much earlier than previously assumed.

A new study from Tel Aviv University and Tel-Hai College solves an old mystery: Where did early humans in the Hula Valley, in northern Israel, get flint to make the prehistoric tools known as hand axes? The researchers applied advanced methods of chemical analysis and AI to identify the geochemical fingerprints of hand axes from the Hula Valley’s oldest prehistoric sites, Ma’ayan Barukh and Gesher Benot Ya’aqov. Their findings indicate that the raw material came from exposures of high-quality flint in the Dishon Plateau, about 20km to the west, and hundreds of meters above the Hula Valley. The researchers: “Our findings indicate that these early humans had high social and cognitive abilities: they were familiar with their surroundings, knew the available resources, and made great efforts to procure the high-quality raw materials they needed. For this purpose, they planned and carried out long journeys, and transferred this essential knowledge to subsequent generations.”


“Our findings indicate that early humans were highly capable: they planned and implemented complex strategies and passed on essential information from one generation to the next.” – The researchers


Early Humans’ Versatile “Swiss Army Knife”

The study was led by Dr. Meir Finkel of the Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near East Cultures, Tel Aviv University and Prof. Gonen Sharon of the MA Program in Galilee Studies, Tel-Hai College, in collaboration with Prof. Erez Ben-Yosef, Tel Aviv University, Dr. Oded Bar and Dr. Yoav Ben Dor, the Geological Survey of Israel, and Ofir Tirosh, the Hebrew University. The paper was published in Geoarchaeology.

Dr. Finkel: “The Hula Valley, located along the Dead Sea Transform Rift, is well known for its many prehistoric sites, the oldest of which date back to 750,000 years before present (YBP). The valley offered early humans rich sources of water, vegetation, and game, right on the northward migration route from Africa – the Great African Rift Valley. These early inhabitants left behind them many artifacts, including thousands of hand axes – flint stones chiseled to fit the human hand. One of the earliest and most universal tools produced by humans, the hand axe may have served as a multipurpose ‘penknife’ for many different tasks, from cutting game meat to digging for water and extracting roots. It was used in many different parts of the Old World, in Africa, Asia, and Europe, for about 1.5 million years.”


“One of the earliest and most universal tools produced by humans, the hand axe may have served as a multipurpose ‘penknife’ for many different tasks, from cutting game meat to digging for water and extracting roots.” –  Dr. Meir Finkel


In the present study the researchers looked for the source of the raw material used to produce thousands of hand axes found at two prehistoric sites in the Hula Valley: Gesher Benot Ya’aqov, dated to 750,000 YBP and Ma’ayan Barukh, dated to 500,000 YBP, both Acheulian.  Prof. Sharon: “Approximately 3,500 hand axes were found scattered on the ground at Ma’ayan Barukh, and several thousands more were discovered at Gesher Benot Ya’aqov. The average hand axe, a little over 10cm long and weighing about 200g, was produced by reducing stones that are five times larger – at least 1kg of raw material. In other words, to make the 3,500 hand axes found at Ma’ayan Barukh alone, early humans needed 3.5 tons of flint. But where did they obtain such a huge amount of flint? Many researchers have tried to answer this question, but our study was the first to use innovative 21st century technologies: advanced chemical analysis and an AI algorithm developed specifically for this purpose.”


The Gesher Benot Ya’aqov area


20 Kilometer Hikes Across Diverse Terrain

The researchers took samples from 20 hand axes – 10 from Gesher Benot Ya’aqov and 10 from Ma’ayan Barukh, ground them into powder and dissolved the powder in acid in a clean lab. For each sample they measured the concentration of approximately 40 chemical elements, using an ICP-MS (inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer), a state-of-the-art device that accurately measures the concentration of dozens of elements, down to a resolution of one particle per billion.

In addition, in order to locate possible flint sources available to the Hula Valley’s prehistoric inhabitants, the researchers conducted a field survey covering flint exposures in the Safed Mountains, Ramim Ridge, Golan Heights, and Dishon Plateau, as well as cobbles from streams draining into the Hula Valley: the Jordan, Ayun, Dishon, Rosh Pina, and Mahanayeem. This methodical survey was combined with a comprehensive literature review led by Dr. Bar of the Geological Survey of Israel. Flint samples collected from all potential sources were then analyzed using ICP-MS technology to enable comparison with the hand axes. A novel computational approach specially adapted by Dr. Ben Dor of the Geological Survey of Israel was used for this comparison.  

Dr. Ben Dor: “The complex process, from collecting and preparing the samples to the chemical analysis, produced a very large amount of data for each sample. To enable optimal matching between data from the archaeological artifacts and data from the flint exposures, we developed a dedicated algorithm based on several computational steps, alongside machine learning models. Thus, we were able to classify the archaeological artifacts according to the database derived from the geological samples.”



“To procure suitable raw materials for producing their vital hand axes, [humans living in the Hula Valley hundreds of thousands of years ago] planned and carried out 20km hikes that included an ascent from 70 to 800 meters above sea level.” Prof. Erez Ben-Yosef



Dr. Finkel: “Through the computational process we discovered that all 20 archaeological artifacts were made of flint from a single source: the Dishon Plateau’s flint exposures dating back to the Eocene geological epoch, about 20km west of the Gesher Benot Ya’aqov and Ma’ayan Barukh sites. At the Dishon Plateau we also found a prehistoric flint extraction and reduction complex, indicating that the place served as a flint source for hundreds of thousands of years. In addition, we demonstrated that cobbles from streams draining into the Hula Valley were too small to be used as raw material for hand axes, ruling out this possibility.”

Prof. Ben-Yosef: “Our findings clearly indicate that humans living in the Hula Valley hundreds of thousands of years ago, probably hominids of the homo erectus species, possessed high cognitive and social capabilities. To procure suitable raw materials for producing their vital hand axes, they planned and carried out 20km hikes that included an ascent from 70 to 800 meters above sea level. Moreover, they passed on this important knowledge from one generation to the next, over many millennia. All these suggest a high level of sophistication and ability, which modern researchers do not usually attribute to prehistoric humans from such an early period.”


From left: Dr. Meir Finkel and Prof. Erez Ben Yosef

Empowering Israeli-Arab Students in Humanities

Inauguration of the Cohn Program for Israeli-Arab Inclusion in the Humanities at Tel Aviv University.

The Cohn Family in collaboration with The Lester and Sally Entin Faculty of Humanities and the Commission for Equity, Diversity and Community at Tel Aviv University inaugurated the Cohn Program for Israeli-Arab inclusion in the Humanities during the University’s annual Board of Governors Meeting this week. The Cohn Family has supported the Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas along with individual departments in the Humanities at TAU for decades. The current program is aimed at centralizing and expanding the existing efforts to attract Arab students to enroll in the Humanities at TAU.

As part of the 2023 Board of Governors meeting at TAU, Dan Cohn, the Entin Faculty of Humanities and the Commission for Equity, Diversity and Community are holding a study tour in Lod, a mixed Jewish-Arab town. The tour will focus on The Lowy International School’s Gap Year Program and the archeological excavations in Lod, which will be presented by Prof. Yuval Gadot, Head of TAU’s Jacob M. Alkow Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures.


WATCH: The inauguration ceremony of the Cohn Program for Israeli-Arab Inclusion in the Humanities at Tel Aviv University


Prof. Neta Ziv, TAU Vice President for Equity, Diversity and Community: “Tel Aviv University sees great importance in promoting equity and diversity on its campus. I would like to thank the Cohn Family for their generous gift and the decision to centralize the efforts to promote equity in the Humanities under a unified program. I believe that such a program can help to increase the opportunities for Arab students in Humanities.”

Dan Cohn: “My family has supported the study of the Humanities at TAU for almost half a century. While STEM subjects have attracted substantial support from funders, it has been more difficult to attract that funding in the Humanities. In addition, Arab students have, for a number of reasons – language, role models and critical mass – gravitated to the STEM world. For some time, in initiatives sponsored in specific departments at TAU, efforts have been made to attract Arab students to study Humanities at TAU, to help fill certain gaps in their educational background (e.g., Hebrew), facilitate the creation of a sense of community and open opportunities for graduate fellowships. With the arrival of President [Ariel] Porat and others, the opportunity has been presented to centralize and expand these efforts under the direction of the President and the Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Community. By providing this opportunity at TAU, my family can make a contribution to increasing equity in Israeli society.”


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