LONDON - The number of anti-Semitic incidents in Britain hit a record high last year, with reactions to Operation Protective Edge in Gaza last summer the biggest factor accounting for the jump, a charity said Thursday.
The Community Security Trust said it recorded 1,168 incidents across the country in 2014 - more than double the 535 cases documented in 2013, and the highest yearly total since the group began monitoring anti-Semitism in Britain in 1984, and a 25 percent increase on the previous record high recorded in 2009.
Mark Gardner, a spokesman for the charity, said last month that it received an unprecedented number of calls from Jewish people fearing a Paris-style terror attack in Britain.
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Concerns about anti-Semitism in Europe have risen after a kosher supermarket was targeted in France's deadliest attacks in decades. Four Jewish people were among the 17 people killed last month by the three gunmen, who also died.
Garry Shewan, Britain's national police lead for Jewish communities, said the charity's report was in line with increases in anti-Semitic crimes reported to police in recent weeks.
The charity said it received 81 reports of violent anti-Semitic assaults last year, including a victim being verbally abused and hit with a glass and a baseball bat in London.
Most of the reported incidents were not as extreme.
"The most common single type of incident in 2014 involved verbal abuse directed at random Jewish people in public," the group said in a report. In many cases, "the victims were ordinary Jewish people, male or female, attacked or abused while going about their daily business in public places," it said.
Other forms of abuse included hate mail, threats and abuse on social media, graffiti, and the damaging of Jewish property.
Most of the incidents took place in London and Manchester, the two largest Jewish communities in the country.
"The Jewish community should not be defined by anti-Semitism but last year's large increase in recorded incidents shows just how easily anti-Semitic attitudes can erupt into race hate abuse, threats and attacks," said CST Chief Executive David Delew.
According to a survey last month, a quarter of Jews have considered leaving Britain in the last two years and well over half feel they have no long term future in Europe.
A poll also found anti-Semitic beliefs are widely prevalent among the wider public with 45 percent of Britons agreeing with at least one anti-Semitic sentiment.
Police have stepped up patrols at synagogues and other Jewish venues across Britain following the Paris attack and Britain's top counter-terrorism officer said the threat level to Britain's Jewish community had been raised.
"We need to do everything we can to help this community feel safe and secure in our country," Prime Minister David Cameron told parliament on Wednesday. "I would hate it for British Jews not to feel that they have a home here in Britain - safe, secure and a vital part of our community."
Last week, a fringe far-right group said it would hold a march next month against "on-going Jewification" of Britain under the banner "Liberate Stamford Hill", an area of London home to a large number of Jews, which the CST said had provoked concern.
Reuters contributed to this report.