During a joint press conference with Netanyahu, Hungary’s prime minister says his country has ‘zero tolerance’ for anti-Semitism.
By: World Israel News Staff
Hungary has “zero tolerance” for anti-Semitism, Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban said Thursday.
Antisemitism in western Europe is on the rise, while it is declining in eastern Europe, Orban added before meeting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at his office as part of his four-day Israel trip.
Orban appeared to tie the rise in anti-Semitism to the influx in the number of Muslim immigrants to the Europe continent. While western Europe has taken in millions of immigrants, most of them Muslims from the Middle East, Africa and Asia, Hungary and other eastern European countries have fastidiously guarded their borders and prevented immigrants from entering by building walls and instituting tough rules for absorption.
Referring to Hungary’s geographic location, Orban said his country has a problem “with immigration and terrorism,” arguing that terrorists, ostensibly from the Middle East, are “abusing immigration routes to come to Europe.”
“We have to fight it,” he said.
“In Hungary there is zero tolerance for any form of anti-Semitism, and any Hungarian Jew is protected by the government,” he said. His government was proud, he continued, that Hungarian Jews can “openly and proudly celebrate their Jewish heritage and feel secure.”
In nearly all western European countries, in contrast, synagogues, Jewish community centers, Jewish museums and other Jewish institutions have round-the-clock security, Jews fear wearing kippot and other visibly Jewish items of clothing and jewelry, and many Jews have left or are contemplating leaving embattled Jewish neighborhoods.
Orban also said that the close ties between his government and Netanyahu’s was because both are led by “patriots.”
“Both countries have a patriotic leader. And in this relationship between us I see evidence for the fact that a Hungarian patriot and a Jewish-Israeli patriot always find a common denominator between them,” Orban said.
Both Israel and Hungary are concerned with the need to guarantee internal security and safeguarding their respective borders, he explained, alluding to the two countries’ hardline immigration policies.
Orban’s comments come against the background of accusations that his right wing, anti-immigrant policies, together with his sharp criticism of Hungarian-born Jewish financier George Soros, have opened the gates to antisemitism in Hungary.
The Hungarian PM was also blasted last year both domestically and abroad for praising as an “exceptional statesman” Miklos Horthy, the Hungarian leader during World War II who collaborated with the Nazi to capture and deport to concentration camps Hungary Jews. In all around 600,000 of the country’s 800,000 Jews were murdered by the Nazis – with the help of Hungarian accomplices – in the period between March 1944 to January 1945.