Toronto police step up patrols of Jewish areas after anti-Semitic incident

Swastika notes stuck to doors of condo, mezuzahs vandalized; mayor says residents ‘should not have to face hatred on their doorsteps’

Anti-Semitic notes left on Toronto doorways, February 19, 2017. (Screen capture: CTV News)
Anti-Semitic notes left on Toronto doorways, February 19, 2017. (Screen capture: CTV News)

Toronto police have stepped up patrols of Jewish areas after a series of anti-Semitic messages targeted members of the city’s Jewish community, police said Wednesday.

Yellow Post-it notes with hand-drawn swastikas and anti-Semitic language were stuck on the doors of a Toronto condominium building with many Jewish residents.

At least one of the notes said “No Jews,” the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported. Also, mezuzahs on the doorposts of several apartments were removed or damaged, including a replacement for one that had been vandalized several days before the incident only hours after it had been mounted.

The mezuzah is a small parchment scroll affixed to the doorpost and containing the text of the “Shema Yisrael” prayer. Religious believers commonly kiss the fixture upon entering or leaving a room or building.

“Anti-Semitism has no place in Toronto,” Mayor John Tory said in a statement issued Monday. “Our Jewish residents should not have to face hatred on their doorsteps. These acts, and the people who carry them out, do not represent Toronto or Torontonians.”

In a news conference on Wednesday, Sgt. Lawrence Sager of Toronto’s police said that they are “confident that whoever is responsible for this crime will be brought to justice.”

He called on the public to help with any information they may have, saying that despite numerous tips, so far they have “no new information with regard to a specific individual.”

He said that police have increased patrols in Jewish areas in the wake of the incident.

“We take this sort of criminal activity very seriously,” he said. “We recognize that these types of crimes have far-reaching repercussions. Toronto police enjoy a very, very close relationship with our Jewish community, and will support them in any way possible to ensure that they feel safe within their community.”

The notes and vandalism were reported to Toronto police on Sunday night. The police reportedly are investigating the incident as a potential hate crime.

Residents reportedly believe the vandal is someone who lives in the building. There are no surveillance cameras in the hallway.

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