Israel today complained to the European Security Conference about rising anti-Semitism in Europe and appealed for action to prevent "criminal acts reminiscent of the Nazi period."

Israel's ambassador to Paris, Meir Rosenne, told the 35-nation meeting, "We are gravely concerned about the intensification of anti-Semitic acts in Europe, whether in official propaganda organs of some countries or in various terrorist actions committed by certain neo-Nazi, fascist organizations.

"All these tend to remind the Jewish people of one of its darkest hours, which it underwent in Europe in the period between 1933 and 1945," Rosenne said.

"We appeal to the governments represented here to do all in their power to prevent any manifestation of anti-Semitism, be it in the form of publications and cartoons or criminal acts reminiscent of the Nazi period."

The envoy did not mention any specific cases of anti-Semitism, but he said his country was greatly concerned by a sharp drop in the number of Soviet Jews being allowed to emigrate -- less than 20,000 in 1980 as against 51,000 in 1979.

Meanwhile in Tel Aviv, an Israeli Cabinet member said that Israel must cut down its armed forces because it cannot afford such a large military machine.

What Israel needs instead, Agriculture Minister Ariel Sharon told a student audience, is a "small and highly efficient army." He did not elaborate.

Sharon, 52, is a former Army general who masterminded the Israeli thrust west of the Suez Canal in the 1973 Middle East war.

Israel's direct defense expenditures total more than a third of its budget.

No official figures are available about the size of the Israeli Army, but the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies says it totals 169,300, including 125,300 draftees.