In a troubling incident this week, a synagogue and a Jewish community center in Montreal were targeted in attempted firebomb attacks, heightening tensions across North America following the Israel-Hamas conflict.The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), a representative group for Jewish communities in Canada, confirmed the attempted firebombing at a center in West Island and at Congregation Beth Tikvah overnight on Monday. Both attacks occurred in Dollard-des-Ormeaux, a predominantly English-speaking suburb of Montreal.
Fortunately, no injuries were reported in either incident.Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed deep concern over the attempted arson, emphasizing the unequivocal condemnation of antisemitism. He stated, “Antisemitism is completely unacceptable and must always be condemned—our government will continue to work with Jewish communities to combat this hatred.”The CIJA echoed these sentiments, emphasizing the need to call out and condemn antisemitism wherever it emerges.
The organization stressed that perpetrators of such acts must be held accountable. Montreal Police are currently investigating the incidents, although no official statement from the police has been issued as of now.
While no injuries occurred at the synagogue, minor damage was reported. Additionally, a small fire ignited at the back door of the Federation CJA building across the street.
Yair Szlak, the president and CEO of Federation CJA, expressed relief that there were no injuries but condemned the violence, questioning how such incidents could occur.
Eta Yudin, vice-president of CIJA—Quebec, highlighted the alarming rise in alleged hate crimes against Jews and “hateful incidents” since the onset of the Israel-Hamas conflict. She noted that the conflict’s tensions had resulted in an influx of violence, underscoring the urgent need for dialogue and understanding.
These incidents come amidst a backdrop of threats faced by both Jewish and Muslim communities during the Israel-Gaza conflict. Tragically, a 69-year-old Jewish man lost his life during clashes between pro-Israel and pro-Palestine protesters in California. Furthermore, instances of antisemitic threats and hate crimes have been reported at universities, including violent threats at Cornell University and antisemitic emails targeting Jewish students at the University of Pennsylvania. Additionally, an Arab Muslim student at Stanford University was hospitalized following a hit-and-run incident currently under investigation as a hate crime.