BOSTON (CBS) — Massachusetts experienced the fifth largest number of anti-semitic acts compared to other states last year.

According to the New England Anti-Defamation League (ADL),  the state saw 125 anti-semitic acts in 2016. Just one year before that, the number was 50.

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“In many ways, this is a warning sign,” said Robert Trestan, the executive director of the Anti-Defamation League in Boston.

The ADL reported the increase in incidents was mostly seen through harassments and vandalisms.

Trestan said that the nation’s political atmosphere in the last 12 to 18 months is a factor.

“Some people are feeling a little more empowered, a little more emboldened to act out those beliefs, whether they are directed against Jews or other groups, and the data supports that,” he told WBZ NewsRadio 1030.

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The number of anti-semitic people has not increased, explained Trestan, but the number of people acting upon these thoughts has.

“Suddenly, people are being motivated to commit acts based upon their hatred.”

ADL is putting a new focus on schools, a popular venue for such attacks. According to Trestan, 15 schools will be added to the league’s anti-biased education program this fall.

He explained, “We believe that working with kids is one of the best antidotes for hate in our community.”

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Tina Gao reports 

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