‘Deliberate act of hate’: Canadian synagogue damaged in suspected arson attack

Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver says no injuries in fire that was an ‘attempt to intimidate’; extra police patrols put in place at local community institutions

The aftermath of a fire outside Schara Tzedeck synagogue in Vancouver, Canada on May 30, 2024. (B'nai B'rith Canada)
The aftermath of a fire outside Schara Tzedeck synagogue in Vancouver, Canada on May 30, 2024. (B'nai B'rith Canada)

An individual poured fuel and set fire to the front doors of Schara Tzedeck synagogue in Vancouver, Canada on Thursday night, causing minor damage. There were no injuries in the attack.

The fire was the result of arson and a “deliberate act of hate” and an “attempt to intimidate” the Jewish community, the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver said in a statement.

“But we refuse to be intimidated or to hide,” the Jewish Federation statement added. “Our community is resilient, and we are proud to be an important part of the multicultural fabric of our city, our province and our country.”

The statement also said that extra police patrols were being put in place at local Jewish institutions.

A previous statement had said that the fire was caused by an incendiary device thrown at the synagogue.

In a statement on social media, David Eby, the premier of British Columbia, whose largest city is Vancouver, called the incident a “disgusting act of antisemitism,” adding it was “reprehensible and has absolutely no place in BC.”

“We stand with the Jewish community in BC and unequivocally condemn antisemitism and all forms of hatred,” he added.

The incident came after bullet holes were found at two Jewish schools in Montreal and Toronto in recent days.

“I was horrified to receive a frantic call from a community member that there was a fire burning at the entrance to the building,” Aron Csaplaros, B’nai Brith Canada’s British Columbia Regional Manager, said in a statement about the fire. “This is a serious and dangerous escalation of antisemitic activity in Vancouver, and it is outrageous and repugnant.”

The apparent attack follows a rise in reported antisemitic incidents in Canada, according to an audit published last month by Jewish advocacy group B’nai Brith Canada. In November, shots were fired at two Orthodox Jewish schools in Montreal.

Antisemitic incidents have surged worldwide in the months since October 7, when the terror group Hamas launched a cross-border assault into southern Israel from Gaza, killing some 1,200 people and taking 252 hostages, mostly civilians, sparking a bloody war that’s been ongoing since.

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