A kosher restaurant in Montreal is temporarily closed after it was vandalized on Sunday night in what is believed to be a hate crime.

According to a press release issued by B’nai Brith Canada, “On Sunday night, unknown assailants shattered the front door of Chez Benny in Ville Saint-Laurent with a rock, then attempt to light a fire, which failed to catch due to a lack of flammable material. There was no evidence of any attempt to take money or valuables from the restaurant. No one was in the restaurant at the time of the incident.”

Two other non-kosher restaurants are in the same plaza as Chez Benny; neither was damaged.

The vandalism comes amid a rising number of hate crimes across Canada since mid-May when Hamas sent more than 4,000 rockets towards population centers in Israel. According to B’nai Brith, the organization had recorded as many hate crimes in May 2021 as it had during the entire year of 2020.

The shattered glass door of the kosher restaurant Chez Benny in Montreal, June 13, 2021. Credit: Courtesy of B’nai Brith Canada.

“It has been a difficult month-and-a-half for Jews across Canada, so people are naturally on edge following this attack,” said Michael Mostyn, CEO of B’nai Brith Canada, who expressed appreciation to local police for their “swift work” on the case.

Elsewhere, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs CIJA, the advocacy arm of the Jewish federation system in Canada, has created a “Fight It!” campaign to combat rising anti-Semitism across the country. It has also urged the office of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to convene an emergency summit to address the rising incidents of Jewish hatred in Canada.

“We issued a call for the summit and launched the ‘Fight It!’ campaign following the troubling rise in anti-Semitism we observed in Canada during May and June which, like many jurisdictions around the world, is persisting, particularly online,” Martin Sampson, vice president of communications and marketing for CIJA, told JNS. “Tens of thousands of members of the Jewish community right across Canada wrote to elected officials joining us in calling on the government to host the summit.”

While the government announced late last week that it will convene a summit, no date has been set. Sampson said they are working with the prime minister’s office and other senior political leaders and expects it to be announced shortly.

JNS

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