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ADL says anti-Semitic incidents in Arizona increased by 23% last year

(ADL Photo)

PHOENIX — The number of anti-Semitic incidents reported in Arizona increased for the third consecutive year, according to new data from the Anti-Defamation League.

Arizona’s Jewish community experienced 32 anti-Semitic incidents last year, up from 26 the previous year — an increase of 23%.

Carlos Galindo-Elvira, Arizona regional director of ADL, called this “deeply disturbing.”

“It’s 2019 and you would think that these type of incidents would not be happening,” he said. “Yet the numbers do not reflect that.”

ADL classifies the anti-Semitic incidents into three categories: harassment, vandalism and assault. Of the incidents reported last year, 20 were harassment, 12 were vandalism and none were assaults.

The data from ADL also showed most of 2018’s anti-Semitic incidents in Arizona were reported in the last three months of the year and nearly half included the use of a swastika. The incidents took place in a variety of locations, including schools.

Nationwide, nearly 1,900 anti-Semitic incidents were reported last year. That’s the third-highest number since ADL started tracking such data in the 1970s.

Galindo-Elvira said these numbers should remind people to be vigilant.

“Vigilance is our best friend in the Jewish community and we need to really pay attention to our gut instinct,” he said. “If something doesn’t feel right, tell somebody.”

ADL made several recommendations to address the rise in anti-Semitic incidents, including having public officials and civic leaders speak out against these incidents.

The group called on Congress to hold more hearings on the increase in hate crimes and extremist groups and recommended that school districts promote anti-bias and bullying prevention programs in schools.

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