VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis on Saturday condemned the "terrible increase in attacks against Jews around the world" and the rise in anti-Semitism since the war in Gaza erupted on October 7.
"We, Catholics, are very concerned about the terrible increase in attacks against Jews around the world," the pope wrote in a letter addressed to "My Jewish brothers and sisters in Israel" and made public by the Vatican on Saturday.
The war between Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza has produced "divisive attitudes in public opinion worldwide and divisive positions, sometimes taking the form of anti-Semitism and anti-Judaism", Francis said.
"We had hoped that 'never again' would be a refrain heard by the new generations, yet now we see that the path ahead requires ever closer collaboration to eradicate these phenomena," he said.
He also urged prayers "especially for the return of hostages" held by Hamas since the unprecedented October 7 attack on Israel, which resulted in the deaths of about 1,160 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.
Militants also seized around 250 hostages, and Israel says 132 remain in Gaza, including at least 27 believed to have been killed.
Vowing to eliminate Hamas, Israel launched a massive military offensive that has killed at least 27,238 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the health ministry.