Montreal police hate crimes unit arrest 16-year-old after Israeli flags stolen, set on fire in DDO

“There were some frustrations and a lot of anxious parents,” says Glen Eisenberg, executive of the Hebrew Foundation School where a 16-year-old, now arrested, burned Israeli flags from the Jewish school on the West Island. Diona Macalinga reports.

By News Staff

The Montreal police hate crimes unit arrested a 16-year-old after Israeli flags were stolen and set on fire outside a Jewish school in Dollard-des-Ormeaux (DDO).

Police say the suspect is currently being met by investigators and faces charges of mischief, theft, and arson. They add that it’s possible more arrests could be made in this case.

A video circulating on social media shows someone removing Israeli flags from the fence of the Hebrew Foundation School and then they are set on fire.

It happened around 3 p.m. on Wednesday. At the time, many schools were marking Israeli Independence Day on Wednesday, with a rally in downtown Montreal attended by many.

“Around 3 p.m. we were notified that there were some kids that were grabbing some of the flags that we had around the perimeter of the school,” said Glen Eisenberg, executive director at the Hebrew Foundation School where the video was filmed.

Eisenberg said a mother drove by the school when she saw kids taking down the flags and burning them.

“Yesterday, as thousands of Montrealers celebrated Israel’s 75th anniversary at Yom Ha’Atzmaut events and rallies across the city, two male teenagers removed Israeli flags from the fences of Hebrew Foundation School, a private Jewish elementary school in Dollard-des-Ormeaux, and subsequently burned them at a different location. The incident happened at approximately 3:30 p.m., after students had been dismissed for the day,” said the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) in a press release.

“There was a lot of shock and dismay,” Eisenberg said. “There were some frustrations and a lot of anxious parents.

We had our social workers and our staff inside. Our single most important priority is the safety and the well-being of the kids.”

“It’s really discouraging to see something like this happen, particularly when yesterday was such a wonderful day,” said Eta Yudin, vice president of CIJA. “There was a beautiful celebration of Israel’s 75th anniversary in the streets of Montreal with people of all backgrounds peacefully celebrating.”

Upon becoming aware of the incident, school administration informed both the police and Federation CJA’s Community Security Network (CSN).

“Originally thought just to be an act of vandalism, the social media video revealed the intention, instead, to be one of hate. The SPVM Hate Crime Unit is investigating the incident,” added CIJA.

“To our surprise, the actions took place really quick and one of the individuals was arrested later this afternoon,” said Eisenberg.

Montreal person removing Israeli flag in DDO

Screen capture from Instagram of video showing someone removing Israeli flags off the fence of a Jewish school in DDO and flags set on fire.

“Today, the SPVM and D.D.O. Security will increase their presence around the school and Federation CJA’s CSN volunteers will be deployed in large numbers around Jewish institutions across the city. Federation CJA and the CSN remain in contact with the SPVM to ensure the safety and security of the community,” added CIJA.

“Federation CJA’s Community Security Network has been invaluable during this time, guiding us and providing support to our administration and community, who are shaken by this act of overt Jew-hate,” continued Eisenberg.

The CIJA vice president said, “it just points to me the need for education against antisemitism.

We’re calling for legislation by the federal government to prevent online hate and to create more parameters to be able to enable social media outlets, social media giants, to take better measures against those who would seek to propagate hate online and hide behind social media accounts.”

“We will continue to stand up to hatred. Those who seek to intimidate us with hate and threats of violence will not succeed. Our community will continue to stand proud and strong in the fight against antisemitism and hate,” said Yair Szlak, President and CEO, Federation CJA.

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