"It will actually leave a very strong impression," Jean Charest told reporters, following his April 8 visit to Montreal's United Talmud Torah. "This sight and smell leaves a lasting impression of how violent a gesture this was."
Firebombed early on the morning of April 5, the school reeked of burned children's books and plastic, making it nearly impossible to stay inside for more than a few minutes. A note left at the arson scene reportedly said the attack was in retribution for Israel's recent killing of Hamas leader Sheik Ahmed Yassin and was just a taste of things to come.
As a journalist, I met Sheik Ahmed Yassin twice during my visits to the Gaza Strip. The first time was when I attended a military court hearing in 1984, when Yassin was sentenced to 13 years in prison for anti-Israel activities.
Only a year later Yassin was released in a prisoner-exchange deal, and a few years after that I visited him at his home in Gaza.
On both occasions I was left with the impression that this seemingly vulnerable quadriplegic was as strong as a rock, outwardly unmoved by the course of events.