Jewish cottages near Montreal vandalized

Vandals broke into several Jewish-owned summer cottages in the Laurentian Mountains north of Montreal, defacing at least two with anti-Jewish hate messages and swastikas.

Quebec provincial police are investigating the break-ins in Val Morin, the Montreal Gazette reported. No one was in the homes during the incidents, the newspaper reported.

The vandals broke into about 15 of the 50 homes, mostly owned by Hassidic Jews, Pinkas Feferkorn, director of the Val Morin synagogue, told the Gazette. He said furniture was damaged, and clothes and toys were thrown out windows. Swastikas were spray-painted on the outside of one house. In another, swastikas were painted all over the interior, along with at least one phrase: “F— Juif [Jew].”

In 2005, vandals broke into a Val Morin synagogue and desecrated 300 holy books. Three years later the town won a legal battle and stopped the Jewish community from using two chalets as a synagogue and school.

Since then, Jewish residents have been on better terms with their non-Jewish neighbors, Feferkorn said.

In the nearby town of Val David, several suspicious fires were set in 2007, including some in a neighborhood where about 50 Hassidic families own cottages.

Over the years, tensions have marked relations between Hassidic communities in the Laurentians and their non-Jewish neighbors. — jta