A torrent of anti-Semitic epithets met Israel's ambassador to Spain, Rafi Shotz, Saturday evening as he walked home from a Real Madrid-Barcelona soccer match in the Spanish capital. Shotz said the three perpetrators, patrons of a pub, shouted slurs like "Jewish dog" and "dirty Jew" until they were driven off by Spanish police escorting Shotz.

Shotz and his partner Michal chose to walk from Madrid's Santiago Bernabeu Stadium to their nearby home. Three patrons of a pub noticed the ambassador, whom they apparently recognized from having seen him on television.

In a wire report Shotz sent the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem under the heading "Anti-Semitism - a personal testimony," Shotz wrote the perpetrators stood mere meters from him, shouting slurs like "Jewish dog," "dirty Jew" and others "which cannot appear in print."

The ambassador and his partner ignored the slurs and continued walking; meanwhile dozens of bystanders watched the scene, but did nothing to stop the verbal assault.

Shotz told Haaretz yesterday, "It was an ugly incident, the kind one hears about or reads about in a newspaper, but to experience personally the force of hatred and anti-Semitism is difficult and emotionally charged."

Spain's ambassador to Israel, Alvaro Iranzo, told Haaretz that "Spanish security forces protected the ambassador and prevented any harm coming to him."

Spain has seen an upsurge in anti-Israel sentiment in recent years, fueled by critical media reports about Israel Defense Forces operations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, including Operation Cast Lead earlier this year.