Montreal's Beth Zion Synagogue
Montreal's Beth Zion Synagogue Israel news photo:courtesy Beth Zion Synagogu

Anti-Semitic vandals in Quebec went on a rampage Sunday and targeted four synagogues and a school, causing thousands of dollars in damage.

The assault on Jewish properties “was not an isolated affair,” according to Rabbi Reuven Poupko, chairman of the local Jewish Community Security Coordinating Committee. The crimes were “an organized and systematic attack on Jewish institutional life,” he told the Montreal Gazette. “These are not just crimes against buildings. They’re crimes against a community.”

Rabbi Poupko said that the Jewish community would not be intimidated and that Jewish life in the city will continue on a regular basis.

Vandals threw rocks and broke windows at the synagogues and the Yavne Academy. Montreal police are investigating the rampage, which was carried out despite surveillance cameras that have been installed at several Jewish buildings. 

Windows have been smashed in the recent past, and a swastika was smeared on a synagogue last year.

Quebec has a long history of anti-Semitism. Montreal is overwhelming French-speaking, and the Anglo population has been dwindling over the past three decades, especially since the “separatist” movement grew more than 30 years ago.

South of the Canadian border, vandals spray painted a large swastika on a Connecticut synagogue last week, in what police said was a hate crime. U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal visited the synagogue and said, “An act of hatred like this one is not a prank. [It is] a criminal action.”