MONTREAL (JR) — Bullets fired at two Montreal Jewish schools in the midst of the Israel-Hamas war have traumatized the local Jewish community, with some parents wondering if they should keep their children home.
Evidence of single bullets fired were found on the doors at the Talmud Torah elementary branch in the Montreal’s Snowdon district and the more Orthodox Yeshivah Gedolah closer to the Outremont district. The two schools are about a 10-minute drive apart.
People at the schools reported finding the bullets on Thursday morning. Police said no significant damage was done and no one was on the properties at the time the bullets were fired overnight.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned the incident, tweeting: “I want to be clear: This hate has no place in Canada, and we must all stand united against it.” He also met with Canada’s new Special Envoy on Preserving Holocaust Remembrance and Combatting Antisemitism Deborah Lyons on Thursday.
The incident came in the wake of attempted firebombings at a Jewish community center and synagogue two days earlier on Montreal’s West Island. It took place days after a prominent local Muslim religious leader publicly called for the eradication of all “Zionists” and hours after pro-Palestinian activists tried to violently stop a Hillel hostage-awareness display at downtown Concordia University.
The incident at Concordia resulted in two arrests and minor injuries.
“We know that words lead to action,” said Eta Yudin, vice president for Quebec at the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs. The bullets found at the schools, “represents a worrying escalation in the violence the Jewish community has been experiencing,” the center and the Federation CJA said in a joint statement.
“To most Canadians, the war might feel as it is on the other side of the world, bur, for Jews, we’re feeling the hate and experiencing the danger right here in our home communities,” said federation CEO Yair Szlak.
Despite Justin Trudeau and Quebec premier François Legault’s condemnations of the recent incidents, Montreal Jews say they remain concerned. The city and its surrounding suburbs are home to over 80,000 Jews.
”It’s unbelievable,” parent Iris Alapin, whose son is a Jewish elementary school student, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “Our children have nothing to do with it. They’re going to school and learning to read and write and count. How is this possible, all this hate?”