Police probe suspected arson at Jewish centre
Montreal police say an incendiary device was thrown at a Jewish community centre early Monday, hours after two MPs attended a meeting inside the building to discuss security concerns with Jewish leaders.
The executive director of the Jewish Community Council of Montreal said he was informed around 12:40 a.m. the office’s alarm system had been set off. Rabbi Saul Emanuel said in an interview he arrived on the scene moments later to find the centre’s front window smashed and that a Molotov cocktail had been thrown inside.
“We really feel attacked,” he said, but added the community wouldn’t be intimidated.
The violence is the latest in a series of attacks against Montreal’s Jewish community since the war between Israel and Hamas began in October.
“We feel that these acts of intimidation are not going to achieve their goal as we will continue to act on behalf of the entire community,” Emanuel said. “That’s what we’ve done for 100 years and we will continue to do it.”
Nobody was inside the building, which suffered minor damage, he said, adding the window has been repaired and security camera footage handed over to police.
It’s ironic, Emanuel said, that the alleged attack at the centre happened hours after Jewish community leaders met MPs to discuss security concerns and ask for more government aid.
Liberal MPs Anthony Housefather and Rachel Bendayan confirmed on X — formerly Twitter — they had been at the centre Sunday to talk about a federal program that provides funding and other support for communities at risk of hate-motivated crimes
“The fear is real and we will be there to support the security of the community,” Bendayan said.
At 12:15 a.m. on Monday, Housefather shared on X a photo of the meeting at the office of the Jewish Community Council. Emanuel said he learned about the security alarm going off less than an hour after Housefather’s post.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau posted on X condemning the attack. “These continued acts of antisemitic violence are deplorable and unacceptable — and must stop immediately,” he wrote. “We must all stand united against such vile, hateful acts.”
Montreal police media relations officer Julien Lévesque said emergency responders were called at about 1 a.m. after an incendiary device was thrown at the door of a building in Côte-des-Neiges. Lévesque said firefighters transferred the investigation to the police’s arson squad.
Two MPs had attended a meeting inside the community centre in Montreal to discuss security concerns with leaders hours before an incendiary device was thrown at the building
Toronto Star Newspapers Limited