Two Jewish schools were hit by bullets in Montreal overnight Wednesday just two days after a synagogue in a western suburb of the city was targeted with Molotov cocktails.
Video from CBC News showed a bullet hole in the building of one of the schools as police searched the premises for evidence of the potential hate crime. David Oliel, a student at one of the schools, said that while the incident shows a clear threat to Jewish people such as him, he’s not intimidated from living out his faith.
“It sends a message — a threatening message — to our lives, to our community,” Oliel told CBC News. “I’m going to keep wearing my Kippah proud and not be afraid to live in my home where I grew up.”
Montreal Police Const. Jean-Pierre Brabant said that the shootings took place at night while no one was in either of the buildings, but the action raises concerns for the safety of Jewish students at the schools as police are looking into investigating the shootings as a hate crime. Police are also reviewing the security camera footage at both schools as they look for suspects.
On Monday night, a Jewish synagogue in Dollard-des-Ormeaux was targeted and hit with multiple Molotov cocktails which sparked a fire at the synagogue’s entrance. After arriving at the synagogue on Tuesday morning, Henry Topas, the Quebec regional director of B’nai Brith Canada and the cantor at Congregation Beth Tikvah, said he immediately suspected a hate crime.
Montreal police have ramped up its security around Jewish schools and synagogues as anti-Semitism spikes in the city following Hamas’ attack on Israel on October 7 that killed 1,400 people, including women and children. Since October 7, there have been 48 reported hate crimes against the Jewish community, meaning there has been more than one hate crime per day against Jews in the city over the past 34 days. Last year, Montreal police recorded 72 hate crimes against all groups for the entire year.
“What starts with words leads to actions and we are seeing that now,” said Eta Yudin, the vice president of the Quebec branch of the Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs. “We’re calling on our fellow citizens to stand up and fight with us against antisemitism and hate.”