MONTREAL (Jul. 2)
Yeshiva Gedola became the latest victim of race-related vandalism in Montreal, when it was broken into twice over the weekend, robbed and extensively spray-painted with anti-Semitic graffiti.
Although no arrests have been made, local Skinheads, racist youths who attack Jews and other minorities, are suspected.
The incident coincided with a rally of white supremacists and neo-Nazis on a farm in Carlsbad Springs, Ontario, not far from the Canadian capital of Ottawa.
The 200-student yeshiva was first broken into sometime between midnight and 6:00 a.m. Saturday.
Slogans such as “Heil Hitler,” “Death to the Jews” and “KKK” (Ku Klux Klan) were spray-painted on the walls.
A night watchman, who was asleep in the basement, discovered the damage in the morning and called the police and school administrators.
About $2,000 was stolen from the main office’s petty cash box, and a plate glass window was removed from the building. Cars parked along a neighboring street were vandalized and sprayed with racist graffiti.
Montreal police investigators were uncertain how the vandals gained access to the building.
The crime is being treated as two separate incidents, because there were no graffiti inside the building, where the robbery occurred.
Late Sunday evening, intruders broke into the rabbi’s study, in an apparent robbery attempt, but no money was found and there was no vandalism reported.
FORMER CANADIAN OFFICIAL LINKED
The rally near Ottawa, held on Canada Day, brought together Canadian, American and British white supremacists, including the Aryan Resistance Movement, a Montreal white-power group.
Last year, a similar rally in Minden, Ontario, attracted some 100 white supremacists.
The 180-acre chunk of farmland used for this year’s rally apparently was purchased six months ago by the movement for $50 (Canadian) from a retired federal trade commissioner, Ian Macdonald.
In a recent interview, Macdonald denied the sale, but defended the’ racists’ right to hold a celebration on the property. He admitted he was “not antagonistic toward them.”
The League for Human Rights of B’nai Brith Canada condemned the rally and lobbied politicians and local religious leaders to do the same.
In recent months, Skinhead-related incidents have been on the rise in Montreal. In April, a Jewish cemetery was desecrated with racist graffiti and headstones were broken.
Two weeks earlier, a party in an apartment in the mainly Jewish suburb of Cote St. Luc was disrupted by Skinheads, who beat a teen-age boy, sending him to the hospital. Skinheads have harassed other young people in recent weeks.
The KKK has just established a French chapter in Montreal, called “Longitude 74,” Montreal’s geographical location.
The Jewish community is concerned about the escalation of activity by hate groups. “It’s a deplorable situation,” said Yechiel Glustein, director of B’nai Brith Canada’s Quebec office.