Vancouver synagogue attacked with “incendiary device”

The Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver reported an incendiary device was thrown at the front doors of a synagogue in Vancouver, B.C., making it the third attack on a Jewish school or place of worship in the past week.

At approximately 9:30 p.m. Thursday, an incendiary device was thrown at the front doors of Schara Tzedeck synagogue on Oak Street.

“Thankfully, no one was injured, and damage to the building was minor,” the group reported in a community update Thursday.

It said the Vancouver Police Department and the fire inspector conducted a “thorough” search of the building and declared it safe to reopen.

Rich Robertson, the director of research and advocacy at the Jewish advocacy organization B’nai Brith Canada, told True North in an interview that the attack was “horrifying” for Jewish people living in the area.

“This occurred as evening services were letting out, and there were worshipers in the vicinity of the shul. To have to feel unsafe when you’re attending your synagogue…it’s just honestly, it’s heartbreaking,” Robertson said.

Aron Csaplaros, the B.C. regional manager at B’nai Brith Canada, was on the scene immediately following the attack, working with the Vancouver police on the scene.

“We’ve been working with and will continue to work with the Vancouver police to ensure that the response is as strong as is needed and that the community remains safe from further harm,” Robertson said.

The investigation is ongoing, and in response, the Vancouver police will increase patrols around local Jewish institutions.

The Jewish Federation also said its security advisory team will remain “on top” of the situation.

“We are reaching out to all Jewish community organizations and advising them to remain vigilant and to follow their established security protocols,” its community update said.

Earlier this week, a Jewish girl’s school in Toronto was shot at, and on Thursday, a Jewish school in Montreal was also fired on.

“This is part of an extremely troubling pattern of escalation that has now seen multiple Jewish institutions targeted with violence in the last week,” Robertson said.  “The lack of a strong response from our government and civic leaders has emboldened and incited those who harbour antisemitic views to feel that they can act out against the Jewish community in Canada without repercussion and with impunity.”

He called for legislation and Canada’s laws to be used to deter further aggression against the Jewish community in Canada.

“We need the federal government to expedite the report that will be released following the Justice Committee’s hearings on antisemitism,” he said. “We need leaders to continue to actively speak out against what is occurring as a form of deterrent. And we need the police to investigate these charges and be confident that when they do lay charges, in relation to hate crimes or hate-motivated occurrences, that they will have the support of the respective attorney general when seeking to have those matters prosecuted.”

True North contacted the Vancouver Police Department for comment but did not receive a response before publishing.

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