Boy, 16, arrested after Israeli flag burned outside Montreal-area school
Montreal police say they have arrested a 16-year-old boy in connection with Israeli flags that were ripped down and set on fire outside a Jewish elementary school in a West Island suburb.
The flags were installed on the fences of the Hebrew Foundation School in Dollard-des-Ormeaux, as the community marked Israel’s Independence Day.
A video was later posted on social media of a man ripping down and then setting the flags on fire with the caption, "I am not afraid of any Yehudis, and I do not care about any 'promises.'" Yehudi means 'Jew' in Hebrew. It is the only post on the account.
Police say investigators from the hate crimes unit arrested the boy on Thursday, on suspicion of mischief, theft and arson. He is currently meeting with investigators. Police say others arrests could be made.
Police beefed up security in the area, and the school released a statement saying it always has security at the school.
Though Montreal police said it's too early to determine if the incident was motivated by hate, police say they want to send a message that they take these types of incidents seriously.
Hank Topas, the Quebec regional director of B'Nai Brith Canada said the organization hopes this was an isolated incident.
"I pray it's an isolated incident. Generally, if someone has the temerity to do this horrendous act and video themselves doing it and expose their faces while they’re doing it, I presume it’s not an organized incident," said Topas.
The person who posted the video online later added some comments on their Instagram Stories, calling the Israeli flag a "sign of oppression and tyranny."
"We have nothing against the Jews, the Jews are our brothers in religion, but we don't like the Zionists," they wrote.
Sameer Zuberi, the MP for Pierrefonds-Dollard, called the flag-burning video "shocking and abhorrent" in a post on Twitter.
"Hate, intolerance and antisemitism have absolutely no place in our community or country," he said, adding the "person who did this must be held to account."
Police are asking anyone with information about the event to call the neighbourhood station at 514-280-0104, or reach out to Info-Crime Montreal anonymously at 514-393-1133 or via infocrimemontreal.ca.