Ontario Jewish Day School Struck With Third Apparent Antisemitic Incident in Under a Month
A swastika was recently found near an Ontario Jewish day school, marking what some have described as the third antisemitic incident at the institution within a month, Canada’s CJNews reported on Friday.
On June 11, staff at the Patricia campus of the Eitz Chaim Schools discovered the swastika drawn at the children’s playground near the school, according to the report, after students had found another one nearby days earlier.
The swastika etchings followed a May 30 incident in which passerby threw small rocks at students in the playground. According to the head of school, Rabbi Shlomo Shwartz, it was unclear if that incident was antisemitic in nature.
Schwartz added the swastikas might also be motivated by something other than Jew-hatred, including frustration that the public was recently banned from using the school playground.
School administrators wrote in an email to parents after last week’s episode that they had been in contact with the police and the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), as well as local officials.
Administrators have reportedly implemented new security recommendations, and police has told the school “that they will elevate their level of patrol in the area.”
Sara Lefton, vice president of CIJA for the Greater Toronto Area, told CJNews that these incidents were particularly worrisome “because children were involved.”
Avi Benlolo, CEO of the Friends of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, was quoted as saying, “I really do believe [the police] take this very seriously and they’re very concerned.” However, he suggested that the consequences for these types of actions were not severe enough.
According to B’nai Brith Canada’s annual report of antisemitic incidents, 2016 was the “worst year on record for antisemitism in Canada.” Episodes of Holocaust denial and on-campus hate in particular spiked significantly.