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In the wake of the crisis in the Middle East, Jews and Jewish property worldwide have come under attack.

Why was a Jew stabbed on a London bus on October 16? Why was the home of a rabbi firebombed in Sydney on October 15? Why was a synagogue burned in Syracuse, New York on October 13? Below is a partial list of anti-Semitic attacks that occurred in mid-October.

Australia

  • On October 14 in Sydney, a home-made bomb thrown at the home of Rabbi Pinchas Feldman, head of the Sydney Yeshiva.
  • On October 14 in Canberra, two Molotov cocktails thrown at Jewish Center.
  • Following a rally of over 2000 demonstrators in Hyde Park, where they were addressed by Muslim leaders, about 20 angry Palestinian demonstrators tried to storm the U.S. Consulate.

Belgium

  • A Jewish monument in Brussels, that was dedicated to soldiers who served in World War II, was defaced with a swastika.

England

  • On October 16, a Jewish man, who was wearing a yarmulke and riding on a bus traveling through the ultra-Orthodox north London neighborhood of Stamford Hill at 11 a.m., was stabbed at least 17 times in the face, neck and chest by an Algerian-born Muslim.
  • Leaflets calling for the death of Jews were distributed by Islamic militants in London, Manchester, and Birmingham. One leaflet read, "The final hour will not come until the Muslims kill the Jews."
  • At least 50 incidents ranging from vandalism to anti-Semitic graffiti were reported at British synagogues in the days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

France

  • A synagogue in Trappes was partly destroyed by bomb explosion.
  • A synagogue in Bondy was destroyed by firebomb.
  • A firebomb destroyed the front door of a synagogue in Paris.
  • Nearly 100 anti-Semitic incidents were reported in France, including the fire-bombing of a Jewish shop in Toulon and at least one Jewish school.

Germany

  • 100 Palestinian and Lebanese protestors threw stones at the Old Synagogue in Essen. Then they tried to storm it. The synagogue is a Jewish museum and Holocaust memorial center and is not used for worship.

Russia

  • About 100 Arab students demonstrated in front of the Israeli embassy in Moscow. Then an anonymous caller phoned in a bomb threat to the Chabad synagogue in Moscow. The building was evacuated, but nothing was found.

Spain

  • Rocks were thrown at a Jewish community building and synagogue in Madrid. Four windows were broken in the incident but no one was injured.

United States

  • Temple Beth El in Syracuse, New York was gutted by explosion and fire on October 13.
  • In separate incidents, two Jews were attacked in a Jewish neighborhood of Chicago on October 12.
  • Five shots were fired at a Chicago rabbi while he was in his car. The rabbi escaped unharmed. In the same neighborhood, Arab youths shot marbles from slingshots at Jewish passers-by.
  • Arson attack on synagogue in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on Yom Kippur, October 9.
  • On October 8 (Yom Kippur) in New York City, bottles thrown at Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel broke the synagogue's glass front door.

Worldwide

  • Cemetery desecrations around the world have been reported.

The question raised by these anti-Semitic attacks is: What is the connection between Jews living outside of Israel (Diaspora Jews) to Israel.

Diaspora Jews would give a variety of answers to this question. Some Diaspora Jews (small minority) feel an extremely strong connection to Israel. These Zionists would even like to be living in Israel helping to defend the Jewish State from threats to her survival. Some Diaspora Jews feel a strong attachment to Israel, but also to their home country. Many in this group contribute to Israel's well-being through donations, visits, and political support. A third group of Diaspora Jews feels some connection (religious, historic) to Israel, but they have never visited and have limited knowledge of the country. Some Diaspora Jews feel no connection to the Jewish State at all. Whether Israel exists or not makes little difference to them.

In contrast, anti-Semites would give a much more uniform answer to the question. The line they draw to distinguish between Diaspora Jews and Israeli Jews is extremely thin. When Palestinians demonstrate, they chant "Itbach el-Yehud" which means "Slaughter the Jews." When Islamic militants pass out leaflets in London, the leaflets say, "The final hour will not come until the Muslims kill the Jews." Just as the Nazi's did not differentiate between religious Jews and unaffiliated Jews, today's neo-Nazi's do not distinguish between Diaspora Jews and Israeli Jews. The list of anti-Semitic attacks worldwide are a testament to the view of anti-Semites that Jews are Jews, no matter where they live.

This outbreak of violence in the Middle East and the resounding rise in anti-Semitic attacks worldwide are a wake-up call to Jews everywhere. Jews in Paris, Chicago and Tel Aviv - Israel's struggle is a Jewish struggle. Jews in London, Sydney and Los Angeles - Israel's survival means Jewish survival. Jews worldwide are connected to Israel, whether they like it or not, by their age-old, common enemy, anti-Semitism.

© 2000 Lisa Katz (http://judaism.about.com), licensed to About, Inc. Used by permission of About, Inc., which can be found on the Web at www.About.com. All rights reserved.