Community Intelligence Brief: January 3, 2024

January 3, 2024


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Latest News

'A Believer in Peace': Israeli-Canadian Judih Weinstein Haggai Remembered at Vigil

On Saturday, members of Toronto's Jewish community participated in a vigil for Judih Weinstein Haggai, an Israeli-Canadian-American triple national who grew up in Toronto and was among the 1,200 people murdered by Hamas terrorists in Israel on Oct. 7. Initially thought to be held hostage in Gaza, her community Kibbutz Nir Oz announced her death in a public statement last week, stating that her body is being held in Gaza.

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Protests on 401 Overpass Targeting Jewish Neighbourhood, Critics Say

Several politicians and Jewish community members called for an end to the hateful protests over the past few days. "Let’s be clear, the targeting of the Avenue Road overpass in north Toronto by the anti-Israel mob is far from random. That overpass is a few hundred meters from a predominantly Jewish neighborhood," said FSWC's President and CEO Michael Levitt.

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Victoria Theatre Cancels Play Set in Israel That Was Subject of Duelling Petitions

The Belfry Theatre in Victoria, BC announced yesterday that it has pulled The Runner, a Canadian-made play that focuses on the experience of a volunteer with ZAKA, an ultra-Orthodox rescue service in Israel. This came after duelling petitions asking that it be either kept or removed, an anti-Israel protest at the theatre and "Free Palestine" graffiti and stickers were found outside the entrance.

"Shameful that the Belfry Theatre has decided to cancel the Canadian-made play The Runner, clearly surrendering to hateful intimidation efforts by anti-Israel activists," FSWC said in an online post. "If the Belfry Theatre truly believes it is a place where people have the freedom to share 'ideas that often generate dialogue,' it should rethink its decision."

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At These Schools, Arab and Jewish Students Share Their Feelings, With Each Other

The New York Times published a feature earlier this week on the Hand in Hand schools in Israel, interviewing teachers, students and parents from Jewish and Arab communities in Jerusalem and Haifa, against the backdrop of current tensions between Israelis and Palestinians.

Last summer, as part of FSWC’s Compassion to Action educational tour of Poland and Israel, participants visited the Hand in Hand school in Jerusalem where Jews and Arabs learn together in Hebrew and Arabic. Each class is taught by a Jewish and Arab teacher, and mutual respect and tolerance are integral.

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Harvard President Claudine Gay Resigns Amid Plagiarism Claims, Backlash from Antisemitism Testimony

Harvard University President Claudine Gay resigned yesterday amid plagiarism accusations and criticism over her failure at a congressional hearing to say that calls for the genocide of Jews on campus violate the university's conduct policy.

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Hamas Launches Rocket Barrage at Central Israel as New Year Begins

A barrage of rockets was fired at Israel shortly after midnight on Monday, triggering rocket alarms in the Gaza border area and central Israel. The IDF stated on X that there is no "happy New Year" until all of the hostages held by Hamas return home.

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1,000 Musicians in Caesarea Call to Bring Hostages Home

On December 18, 1,000 musicians and singers came together in Caesarea for a day of recording and filming in honour of the hostages held captive in Gaza. The "Homeland Concert" includes a medley of lyrics from Ehud Manor’s classic song, “Home” and part of “Hatikva,” Israel’s national anthem.

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Report Antisemitism and News of Concern to FSWC

If you would like to report antisemitism or news of concern to Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center, please email

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