chief rabbis, Yona Metzger and Shlomo Amar, are demanding that the European Union intervene in the "growing wave of anti-Semitism," which they say is sweeping the continent's countries.
In a letter sent to European Council President Herman van Rompuy, the rabbis call for the appointment of a committee to look into the scope of the phenomenon and submit practical suggestions for its eradication.
According to the rabbis, since the massacre in a Jewish school in Toulouse
there has been a sharp rise in the number of acts of violence against Jews in Europe. Now they are asking the European community to probe the anti-Semitism and its sources – and take action.
The appeal was made following an attack on a young Jewish American tourist in Venice earlier this month. According to various reports, the man was assaulted in a square in the city center by 15 young men believed to be Muslim, who beat him up and knocked him unconscious.
"We are voicing our fears that the recent attack, in which a young Jewish man paid the price of choosing to go out in public dressed as a yeshiva boy, points to a fundamental problem," the rabbis wrote to the European Council president.
"This serious incident joins a series of events in the past year, which may demonstrate a trend of a sharp rise in the scope of anti-Semitism across Europe.
"The memory of those murdered in the European Holocaust has not been forgotten, and the lesson has been learned: One can no longer keep silent as Jewish blood is shed," the rabbis concluded.
"As the leader of the united European community, we see you as the most senior figure capable of working to defeat this disease and restore peace and calm to the Jews of Europe. Please act."
The young man assaulted in central Venice was visiting relatives living in the Italian city. According to a local report, the attackers fled the scene after a passerby spotted them and alerted the police.
The Center for Jewish Documentation's Observatory on Anti-Jewish Prejudice in Milan reported last month that the number of anti-Semitic incidents in Italy increased significantly over the past year.