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December 1, 2015 / 19 Kislev, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Montreal’

Montreal Hate Crime Probe Starts With Death Threats and Bullets

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

Montreal police have launched a probe into what they are calling a hate crime after residents of an apartment house found their cars damaged and death threats in envelopes with a bullet for each. The ethnicity and religion of the owners of the targeted vehicles was not released.

The incident, which occurred in the parking garage beneath an apartment building on Côte St. Luc Road, was clearly directed at the Jewish community, however — the neighborhood in which the incident took place is known as a “Jewish area.” The vandalism was discovered late Monday night when the smoke alarm in the garage suddenly activated.

Four of the vehicles were branded with swastikas, albeit painted backwards, sprayed in red paint on the hoods. Five of the cars “had envelopes on them, and on the white envelopes there were swastikas on them,” said a resident in the building who requested anonymity. CBC News agreed not to reveal his family name. “The swastikas were huge. They covered pretty much the majority of the hood,” he said. His neighbor’s car had a smashed windshield. On the ground in front of the car lay a hatchet.

“I’ve lived in Montreal my whole life… I’ve never seen this before first-hand, never been a victim of it and just to have it happen literally in your own home, it just left me speechless,” he told CBC Radio One.

One of the envelopes contained a bullet together with a threatening note, another resident told CBC News. Police collected the rest of the envelopes as evidence, before they were opened. “I’m just shocked. This is a hate crime and you never expect it to happen in your community,” the resident said.

“While the intent of the perpetrator cannot be absolutely determined at this time, given what is happening globally, the fact that swastikas are involved, that there were threatening notes and this is a Jewish area, leads one to understand that this was not just an act of simple vandalism but a crime targeting the Jewish community,” said Rabbi Reuben Poupko, chairman of the security committee of the Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA).

Although police have not released all the details, Poupko told the Canadian Jewish News on Tuesday the notes were attached to all of the damaged vehicles. “They said something to the effect that ‘this bullet is for you,’ “ he told the paper.

The garage has no security surveillance cameras and there are no suspects, police said. Anyone with information is asked to call 514-393-1133.

Children from Haredi Sect Must Return To Quebec, Judge Rules

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

An Ontario judge ruled Monday that children from a fringe Haredi sect whose members fled Quebec while the community was being investigated by social services should be returned to the province.

The court upheld a Quebec order to place 13 children from the Lev Tahor sect into temporary foster care, The Canadian Press reported, but the judge placed a 30-day stay on the order to give the families time to appeal.

The children, who live outside Chatham, Ontario, about two hours southwest of Toronto, were ordered into temporary foster care by a Quebec court in November.

Authorities in Quebec, where sect members had lived north of Montreal for several years, said they had evidence of neglect, psychological abuse, poor dental and physical health, and a substandard education regime in the community.

The 13 children belong to three families. A publication ban prohibits identifying them, and the community denies all allegations and has said it is the victim of a Zionist smear effort.

Last week, Quebec police, with the assistance of local officers, raided two homes in the Lev Tahor community in Ontario. Rabbi Nachman Helbrans, son of sect founder Shlomo Helbrans, said the search may have been an attempt to find evidence of illegal child marriages.

A former sect member testified in Quebec that he had personally witnessed seven underage marriages.

Canada Sends Ex-Jobbik Leader Packing before Montreal Speech

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

Canadian immigration officials this week ordered a former leader of the ultra-nationalist Jobbik party in Hungary out of the country prior to a speaking engagement in Montreal.

Csanad Szegedi was sent back to Budapest on a plane just before he was slated to address a Chabad group. Approximately 200 people who came out to hear Szegedi, who two years ago discovered he had a maternal Jewish grandmother and was ousted by Jobbik, instead heard a videotaped message.

“I acknowledge that I have a lot of sins,” Szegedi said. “And this is why I understand those people who are not happy me being here. But these sins I try to rectify not only at the verbal level but at the level of my actions.

“I have to tell the Canadian Jewish community … that I am exactly such a Jew as they are. I cannot help it — as you cannot help it.”

Szegedi, 31, was a leading figure in the neo-fascist Jobbik party for a decade and was known for his rabid anti-Semitism. After discovering his Jewish relative — an Auschwitz survivor — he made contact with Chabad representatives in Hungary. He since has embraced his Jewish roots and publicly denounced Jobbik.

His talk at Montreal’s Chabad of Westmount was titled “My Journey From Hater to Fighter of Hatred,” but the speaking engagement caused a backlash in Montreal’s Jewish community, with detractors charging that his denunciation of Jobbik is insincere and that he only embraced his Jewish identity after he failed to suppress the news through bribery.

Chassidic Woman Wins Montreal Council Race

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

Mindy Pollak, a 24-year-old aesthetician, became the first Chassidic woman to hold public office in Montreal.

Pollak, a member of the Vishnitzer sect, defeated four candidates to win her race for the municipal council on Sunday in the Outremont borough. She garnered about 35 percent of the vote in a district that is home to an estimated 5,000 Chassidim.

Among the candidates she defeated was Pierre Lacerte, an anti-Hasidim blogger in Montreal.

Montreal has had Orthodox Jewish councillors but all have been men.

Pollak’s political aspirations were triggered two years ago when controversy erupted in her neighborhood over plans to expand a small Bobover synagogue. Tensions with non-Jewish neighbors already were running high over zoning, noise and congestion issues. She teamed with Leila Marshy, a neighbor who is of Palestinian origin, to found Friends of Hutchison — named for the street on which the synagogue was to be expanded — to promote dialogue between the haredi Orthodox Jews and francophones.

Her advocacy caught the attention of Alex Norris, a Projet Montreal party borough councillor from neighboring Mile-end, which also has a large Hasidic community.

“A number of us were impressed with her and Leila Marshy’s initiative,” Norris told The Tyee, an online magazine, after which he approached Pollak about running for office for his party.

Pollak is a volunteer for Chai Lifeline, which works with sick children and their families.

Montreal Limmud Conference Cancels Sessions Led by Pro-Palestinian

Saturday, November 2nd, 2013

A Montreal Jewish learning festival has canceled two sessions that would have been led by a pro-Palestinian activist who calls for Birthright Israel’s abolition.

Le Mood, a Limmud conference to be held this Sunday and funded by the local Jewish federation, pulled the panel titled “Where are all the radical Jews?” and another on the history of Montreal’s Jewish garment workers, both to have been facilitated by Sarah Woolf.

Woolf this spring helped launch and promote a website called Renounce Birthright that seeks to “educate young Jews about the connections between Birthright [Israel] trips, and the ongoing colonization and occupation of Palestine.”

Woolf and her co-facilitator on the “radical Jews” panel, Aaron Lakoff, wrote on Lakoff’s blog: “Ultimately, we’ve been banned from speaking at Le Mood because of our personal politics (or whatever Le Mood and Federation CJA perceive our respective politics to be), not based on the content of our panels, which were reviewed, accepted, and scheduled months ago.”

The two added that they are “deeply disheartened to learn that Le Mood has fallen victim to the very behaviours and attitudes it had promised to avoid: stifling, censorial, top-down and centralized notions of what Jewishness can and should be.”

Federation CJA’s president and CEO issued an Oct. 31 statement in which they said the session was canceled “because it involved speakers who challenge, actively and publicly, the legitimacy of the State of Israel.”

Noting that Le Mood includes “those that are critical of Israel’s politics, decisions and actions,” the Federation CJA leaders said they had “exercised our right, as any organization would be expected to do, to draw the line at funding and providing a platform, whether directly or indirectly, to those who deny the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state.”

Leaked Quebec Plan would Ban Kippot on Public Workers

Sunday, August 25th, 2013

A plan by Quebec’s government to ban “religious symbols,” including the kippa, among public sector workers has elicited worry from religious minorities in the Canadian province.

The bill would seek to ban public employees from wearing large Christian crosses or religious headwear such as that worn by Sikhs, Muslims and Jews while at work.

Richard Marceau, a former politician who now advises the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, wrote responded to the plan in a critical article in the Huffington Post, where he wrote, “How could one believe that a kippah-wearing Jewish librarian is… trying to impose his religion on society?”

The details of the proposed law were leaked to Journal de Montrèal last week, but the Parti Quebecois, which heads the provincial government, has refused to confirm them or answer questions related to the issue.

Montreal’s First Jewish Mayor Arrested in Corruption Crackdown

Monday, June 17th, 2013

Montreal’s first Jewish mayor and a Jewish former alderman were arrested as part of a crackdown on corruption.

Michael Applebaum, who was appointed mayor last November, was taken into custody Monday morning by agents of the anti-corruption unit, l’unite permanente anticorruption (UPAC). Also arrested was Saulie Zajdel, an Orthodox Jewish former city council member who ran unsuccessfully for a seat in Canada’s last federal election.

Charges are expected to be announced later Monday.

Zajdel was a Montreal city councilor from 1986 to 2009. He also served as a director of the Jewish Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation for more than four years.

Zajdel listed his current job as a municipal affairs consultant and real estate broker, according to his LinkedIn page.

Applebaum, 50, won a city council vote in November to serve as interim mayor for only a year, with a promise not to run in the next municipal election. He replaced the previous mayor, Gerald Tremblay, who resigned in a corruption scandal that linked him to graft and organized crime.

A third man, Jean Yves Brisson, also was arrested Monday. Police say both he and Zajdel had previously worked in the local electoral district of Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dâme-de-Grace, which Applebaum had represented as either a councilor or mayor since 1994.

All three were being held Monday by Quebec Provincial Police.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/montreals-first-jewish-mayor-arrested-in-corruption-crackdown/2013/06/17/

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