Vandals broke into several Jewish-owned summer cottages in the Laurentians, in recent days, defacing at least two of them with anti-Jewish hate messages and swastikas, The Montreale Gazette reported.
The Sûreté du Québec -- Québec's provincial police -- is investigating the break-ins in Val Morin, 90 kilometres northwest of Montreal, which occurred on Thursday and Sunday, according to SQ spokesperson, Ingrid Asselin.
The vandals broke into and vandalized about 15 of the 50 Jewish-owned homes in the area, said Pinkas Feferkorn, director of the Val Morin synagogue.
Furniture was damaged, clothes and toys were thrown out windows and in one house, at least one of the vandals defecated on the floor, Feferkorn said.
Swastikas were spray-painted on the outside of one house. In another, swastikas were painted all over the interior, along with at least one phrase: “F--k Juif,” said the report.
“We’re upset, we’re shocked,” said Joel Weber, the owner of one of the ransacked cottages. “But the SQ is giving it immediate and proper attention. They’ve been there all day.” He also said that the vandals tried to start two fires in the area.
Attempting to explain the crimes, Weber said, “There’s a lot of anti-Jewish stuff in the media,” referring to coverage of a dispute between Hassidic Jews and some non-Jewish neighbors in Outremont. “But it’s hard to know what was in (the vandals’) minds.”
In 2005, vandals broke into a Val Morin synagogue and desecrated 300 holy books, The Gazette noted.
Feferkorn claims that in recent years, Jewish residents have been on better terms with non-Jewish neighbors. “That’s why it’s such a shock,” he said, “we come here two months a year and we don’t bother anybody.”
In nearby Val David, several suspicious fires were set in 2007, including some in a neighborhood where about 50 Hasidic Jewish families own cottages. A year later, a Hasidic Jewish tourist was punched in the face as he walked to a synagogue in nearby Ste. Agathe, reported The Gazette.