Toronto Jewish Federation Tries To Quell Fears By Taking Over Security Role
On the heels of 2 separate incidents, the UJA Federation put out a statement announcing that while, "At this time, there is no information to suggest that there is any elevated risk posed to the Jewish community", it had taken over security in the Greater Toronto Area from the national Jewish umbrella agency (CIJA).
On July 3, under signature of the new Director of Community Security Ryan Clow, a former infantry and intelligence analyst with the Canadian Forces, the Jewish community was told "Federation has assumed primary management responsibility for security-related activities in the GTA, a role that was previously seconded to our advocacy agent, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA)".
Clow, a graduate of the Royal Military College of Canada, said that the Federation had determined a new approach to community security was required even prior to the synagogue attack in Pittsburgh "to meet the growing global and local climate of antisemitism ... That’s why UJA committed to a significant increase in its investment in community security", which included his hiring.
"I lead our local security team" Clow, who has been published in several military journals, stated. He predicted "several important improvements for the community, including: The creation of comprehensive security plans, emergency plans, drills and training for the Greater Toronto Area’s Jewish community, consulting and advising synagogues, schools and agencies, as well as "engaging community members, broadly, to help ensure the security of our community."
Tensions are high for Jews in the GTA after recent attacks, the threats uttered by Islamists and radical Marxists at the unlicenced Al Quds Day march and what Clow refered to as "other disruptions of Jewish community events, including the UJA Walk with Israel in late May and this past weekend at the Israel Festival at the Promenade Shopping Centre."
Random attacks have included a young orthodox couple being attacked walking home after a Shabbat dinner on Bathhurst near Eglington on June 14th.
According to Meir Weinstein of the Centre For Jewish Defence who spoke with the family; "The 4 youths first hurled antisemitic statements at the Jewish couple from across the road. The husband replied, “say that to my face”. The 4 youths then crossed the road and 1 youth went to punch the young Jewish husband. He blocked the punch and tripped the antisemite and held him on the ground. His wife ran (back) to the house and called the police. His father came outside and had the antisemite released." No arrests have been made.
On June 27th the UJA reported they had called police after "an alleged incident of antisemitic harassment in the park area near Dufferin and Finch".
This week, Weinstein told a meeting that was focusing on Toronto BDS activists who harass the Jewish community, that people have been nervous going back to a pair of incidents last November after Yeshiva students were assaulted after being taunted that “Hitler is coming back."
According to the Toronto Police, Jews were by far the most targeted victim group for hate crimes in Toronto, with 50 instances of hate-motivated crimes in 2018 reported. One such incident was revealed in April of that year by Robert Walker of Hasbara Canada, who learned from students that antisemites at Northern Secondary School in midtown Toronto defaced a poster of the Jewish club. School administration responded swiftly to track down the culprits.
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