Knife-Wielding Intruders at Montreal Chabad Apparently Not Linked to Antisemitism

By Matis Glenn

Chabad of Universite de Montreal.

Contrary to rumors on social media, two men who entered a Montreal Chabad house armed with knives and allegedly stole valuables are not believed to have been engaging in antisemitic hate crimes, according to local Chabad shliach Rabbi Shlomo Banon.

The two men, who appeared to be of Middle Eastern descent, entered the Chabad house across from the Universite de Montreal early Tuesday morning, at around 3 a.m., and stole expensive computers, electronics, alcohol and other items. A rabbi, his wife, and three students live in the center, which is frequented by students throughout the day. The rabbi’s wife heard the thieves enter downstairs and saw them on surveillance cameras. She immediately called police, but the pair was gone before they arrived.

Around 30 minutes later, the suspects returned to the scene of the crime, likely in order to steal more items; one was caught by police officers and arrested, and the other escaped.

While many items were stolen, no vandalism occurred, and the suspects did not attempt to take any religious articles. They also did not display pro-Palestinian or Islamic symbols.

The arrested suspect repeatedly said that he was trying to “steal alcohol.”

The Montreal Jewish community has been on high alert since the October 7 terror attacks in Israel. Throughout November, there have been multiple shootings at Jewish institutions, Molotov cocktail attacks at the Montreal Beis Din’s building and at a shul.

While he believes the thieves were not motivated by antisemitism, Rabbi Banon said the incident was unsettling. “It does bother me that they picked up knives,” Rabbi Banon told Hamodia. “They were ready to hurt somebody, but they didn’t. They didn’t do any vandalism, they didn’t touch the Aron Kodesh, or anything else in the shul. They came to steal.”

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