Israel-Hamas war echoes at home in Canada
As the Gaza fighting entered a new and likely bloodier phase with Israel's ground force surrounding Gaza City, Muslim and Jewish Canadians are feeling the shockwaves of the conflict at home.
In late October, Canada confirmed a seventh dead Canadian in the territory with two others missing. Three Canadians are being held hostage by Hamas. So far, 75 Canadians have left Gaza via the Rafah Crossing into Egypt, and dozens more are set to go, though an unexpected closing of the border on Wednesday has delayed plans to get them out.
Justin Trudeau, like other world leaders including President Joe Biden and all G7 nations, has called for a “humanitarian pause” to get people out and aid in. The Canadian premier appeared to make this point in a convo with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier this week, but Israel has rebuffed all of these calls.Meanwhile, in Canada, observers report a staggering rise in antisemitic and Islamophobic hate crimes in recent weeks. A Jewish center near Montreal recently suffered a Molotov cocktail attack, while earlier this month a yearlong Senate investigation concluded that discrimination and violence against Canadian Muslims is already an “acute threat.”
Trudeau said the violence and hate has Canadians “scared in our own streets,” as he called for an end to racist attacks. Muslims comprise about 5% of Canada’s population, and Jews about 1%, according to the 2021 census.