These Israelis fled to Canada after Oct. 7—and now some of them want to stay

Israelis in Canada
Three Israeli families who escaped the war for a respite in Canada tell The CJN Daily why they came, and why some want to stay permanently. From left: Maya Trajtenberg Madar of Tel Aviv spent the fall with her three sons in Toronto; Gabi and Galit Uzan take a walk in the forest in Richmond Hill, Ont. with their son and daughter; Maya Tobin Gonen enjoys a cookout in Ottawa with her children Zvi and Roni. (Submitted photos)

For the past eight weeks, Canada has welcomed at least 900 Israelis who’ve arrived looking for a temporary respite from the rockets and warfare in the Middle East. While many stayed only briefly and have already returned home, some are giving up on Israel after Oct. 7, hoping to make the move permanent.

They are all enormously grateful for the support they’ve received from the Jewish communities in the form of housing, schooling, mental health counselling and even recreation programs at JCCs. But, as you’ll hear on today’s episode of The CJN Daily, they’ve also been shocked by the wave of antisemitism crashing across the country.

Ellin Bessner speaks with Maya Tobin Gonen, now staying in Ottawa, whose family survived the attack on their moshav on the Gaza border by hiding for 11 hours in a shelter; Maya Trajtenberg Madar, who left Tel Aviv with her four-month-old baby boy and two older sons to spend the fall in Toronto; and Gabi and Galit Uzan, who initially fled Ashkelon for northern Israel and are now trying to put down roots in Canada.

What we talked about

  • Learn more about Yair Shpiler’s Jewnity Sports project to bring Israeli orphans to North America for a basketball holiday in January 2024
  • Read how JIAS is helping Israelis coming to stay temporarily (or longer) in Toronto
  • A tribute to Vancouver’s Ben Mizrachi, killed at the Nova music festival on Oct. 7, in The CJN


The CJN Daily is written and hosted by Ellin Bessner (@ebessner on Twitter). Zachary Kauffman is the producer. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Dov Beck-Levine. Our title sponsor is Metropia. We’re a member of The CJN Podcast Network. To subscribe to this podcast, please watch this video. Donate to The CJN and receive a charitable tax receipt by clicking here.