Molotov cocktail discoveries in Dollard lead Jewish leaders to call for increased security and antisemitism awareness in Montreal

Fire damage after Congregation Beth Tikvah Ahavat Shalom was hit by a Molotov cocktail, Nov. 7, 2023. (Credit: B'nai Brith Canada)

The remnants of two molotov cocktails were found early Tuesday morning at Jewish buildings in the Montreal suburb of Dollard-des-Ormeaux.

One was thrown at the entrance of Congregation Beth Tikvah, as part of an apparent attempted arson attack. The second was found across the street at the West Island office of Federation CJA.

Montreal police media relations officer Caroline Chèvrefils told The CJN that no suspect had been identified or arrested by Tuesday afternoon, but an ongoing investigation includes checking security cameras and interviewing people at the scene.

Henry Topas, the Quebec regional director of B’nai Brith Canada and cantor at Congregation Beth Tikvah, said the footage showed the Molotov cocktail thrown around 1 a.m. and was discovered when congregants arrived for morning services. He called the discovery “better late than never.”

B’nai Brith is pleased with the governments interest in the security of the Jewish community, according to Topas, who also praised Premier Francois Legault for his firm public support.

At a press conference hosted by Federation CJA and the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), it was noted that antisemitic incidents were already rising in Canada prior to Oct. 7. Since the Hamas attack, 12 criminal incidents and 25 hate incidents directed at Montreal’s community have been reported.

Federation CJA head Yair Szlack acknowledged the federal government’s effort to combat hate, but encouraged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to consider the growing need for security infrastructure in Jewish institutions across the country. Funding to the Security Infrastructure Program (SIP) was previously increased this past summer.

Eta Yudin, the CIJA vice-president for Quebec, called for the establishment of a national security council of impacted communities, better collection and communication about hate crime statistics, and a social media campaign to tackle online hate—along with urging schools to play an active role in fighting antisemitism.

“When we talk about education, we’re talking about preparing the next generation for what we are living right now,” said Yudin. “We are preparing a generation that can lead us to a better place.”

Jewish community leaders planned to meet Quebec Justice Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette on Tuesday night to further discuss their security concerns.