May 6, 2002

JERUSALEM (AP) - Israel is working to form an international commission to monitor and stamp out rising anti-Semitism, an Israeli official said Monday.

Attacks against Jews in Europe have jumped to alarming proportions in recent months as fighting between Israel and the Palestinians continues in the Middle East. In France alone, authorities say violence against Jews is at its highest level since World War II with nearly 360 acts of anti-Semitism during the first two weeks of April.

Deputy Foreign Minister Michael Melchior said the Israeli government is cooperating with countries to gather research on anti-Semitism that can be used by the commission.

``We are in a situation of emergency when it comes to the fight against anti-Semitism,'' Melchior said at a news conference. ``Those who believe in the future of democracy and decency will all join forces in this fight against anti-Semitism.''

Melchior met early Monday with representatives from Israeli organizations and Jewish groups from around the world. The French Charges D'Affaire Michel Miraillet attended the meeting and heard a lot of ``tough comments,'' Melchior said.

Melchior called on world leaders to condemn anti-Semitism publicly, crack down heavily on offenders, increase security at Jewish institutions and encourage tolerance education.

Israel's Chief Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, a Holocaust survivor, told a gathering of rabbis in Brussels Monday that anti-Semitism is ``an international mental disease.''

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