Police suspect hate crime after Jewish boys assaulted in Toronto

Incident comes just under a week after a Jewish man wearing a kippah was attacked by a taxi driver in Montreal

Toronto skyline in 2008. (John Vetterli via WikiCommons)
Toronto skyline in 2008. (John Vetterli via WikiCommons)

Canadian police have opened a hate crime investigation after two Jewish boys were assaulted in an apparent anti-Semitic incident in Toronto on Saturday.

According to B’nai Brith Canada, the unidentified minors were walking in the suburb of Thornhill when they were accosted by another youth who verbally abused them, then punched one of them in the face and followed them as they attempted to leave the area. Both Jewish boys were wearing kippas.

“This is an extremely serious incident, and we trust that law enforcement will give it the attention that it deserves,” B’nai Brith Canada CEO Michael Mostyn said in a statement. “It is inconceivable that Jewish families will be afraid to send their children to the park, in a heavily Jewish neighborhood, on the Jewish Sabbath.”

The incident comes less than a week after a similarly violent incident in Montreal, in which a Jewish man wearing a kippah was assaulted by a taxi driver. During that incident, the cabbie was blocking the door to an underground garage at a condo building. When asked to move he replied “I won’t move for any f***ing Jews” and threatened to kill the other driver.

The victim then attempted to photograph the taxi number in order to file a complaint, at which point the driver exited his car and punched the Jewish man repeatedly, shouting anti-Semitic slurs until a parking supervisor intervened, B’nai Brith Canada said in a statement. The victim’s phone was smashed. The victim required attention at a local hospital.

Much of the incident was captured on a security camera.

On the same day, another Jewish resident of Montreal was subjected to anti-Semitic death threats at a local fast food restaurant, B’nai Brith Canada reported. Part of that incident was also captured on film.

According to B’nai Brith Canada, “many local Jews, especially those who wear the kippah or other visible signs of Jewish identity, have reported feeling less secure in the shadow of Quebec’s Bill 21, which bans religious garments such as the kippah from various public sector professions.”

Late last month, Canada’s Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs reported that despite a significant reduction in the overall tally of hate crimes, attacks against Jews have remained relatively steady.

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