As part of the attempt to elevate cooperation in the political and economic fields, Prime Minister of Hungary, Victor Orban, took a stand on this painful matter. He referred to the collaboration with the Nazi government as a mistake and a sin. Orban also promised that his government will show zero tolerance towards antisemitism, and will do everything in his power to protect the Jewish minority of his country.
The speech was said during a meeting between Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and his counterparts in Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic on the 18th of July. The meeting was designed to create an alliance, in which the European countries will show a positive stance on issues concerning Israel at various international forums. Israel is often diplomatically isolated due to inner politics and has to create loyal allies in the EU and the UN. Poland was elected to take place in the UN Security Council for the next two years. In return, Israel agreed to increased cooperation in the fields of high-tech, security and agriculture.
Netanyahu thanked Orban for his effort in combating antisemitism and said Hungary was leading the effort, and mentioned that Budapest was the birthplace of the leader of the Zionist movement, Theodore Herzl.
However, Orban’s party has not been kind towards Jews. Only a month prior, Orban praised the Hungarian leader, Miklos Horthy, who was a known Nazi collaborator. Orban praised Horthy, saying that Hungary owes its existence to the Nazi collaborator. Furthermore, the picture of Hungarian-born Jewish billionaire, George Soros, as part of an anti-Israel and anti-immigrant campaign.
Horthy collaborated with Hitler leading to the immediate death of over half a million Jews in Auschwitz. In 2013, a right-wing party, “Yuvik” placed a bronze torso sculpture of him in central Budapest. The act led to protests of thousands against the parties’ relation to minorities.
Nevertheless, the Israeli Foreign Minister did not make Orban’s expressions into a diplomatic disaster. Yossi Amrani, Israeli ambassador to Budapest said Israel will act to defy antisemitism and protect the Jewish communities, while seeking to cooperate with the Hungarian authorities.
Sources: Israel Hayom, Haaretz
By: Roni Zedek