Israeli lawmakers call to cancel Hungarian PM’s visit in country

Israeli lawmakers called for the cancellation of a visit by Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban to Israel over his far-right politics and past anti-Semitism-linked scandals.

By: World Israel News Staff

Israeli lawmakers are voicing opposition to a pending visit by Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban to Israel next month over his far-right politics and past anti-Semitism-linked scandals.

Member of Knesset (MK) Yair Lapid, who comes from a family of Holocaust survivors from Hungary, said that Israel should cancel the planned visit by Orban due to his far-right views.

“Victor Orban should not visit the country,” Lapid said, Arutz 7 reported. “Orban is the man who said that Miklos Horthy is a great leader. He murdered my grandparents in Hungary. And the very fact that Netanyahu is making us the best friends in the world of these regimes in Europe is worrisome.”

MK Tamar Zandberg, chair of the left-wing Meretz party, wrote a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday demanding that Orban’s visit to the Jewish state be nixed.

She cited his far-right wing politics, his support for Hungarian leader Miklos Horthy, who collaborated with the Nazis during WWII, and his seemingly anti-Semitic campaign targeting Jewish billionaire funder of left-wing causes George Soros as reasons to boycott him.

Orban is slated to visit Israel on July 19.

In July 2017,  Netanyahu made history when he became the first Israeli prime minister to visit Hungary since the fall of Communism.  Lapid had urged Netanyahu to cancel that visit as well.

In June 2017, Orban generated controversy after he characterized Admiral Miklos Horthy, the World War II-era leader who allied Hungary with Nazi Germany and who signed anti-Jewish laws between WWI and WWII, as an “exceptional statesman,” stirring the ire of the local Jewish community.

Horthy signed the Numerus Clausus in 1920, which degraded Hungarian Jewry into second-class citizens, as well as the anti-Jewish laws in 1938 and 1939 respectively.

András Heisler, president of MAZSIHISZ – the Federation of Jewish Communities in Hungary, said that a man who led the anti-Semitic edicts must not be called “exceptional.”

“The anti-Semitism of the era under his name, which he also took on, cannot be put as an example for the future generations,” Heisler stated.

Later in July, Orban attempted to make amends by stating that Hungary’s collaboration with Nazi Germany was a “mistake” and a “sin.” He told Netanyahu, “This can never happen again,” as Hungary “will protect all its citizens.”

Orban previously agitated anti-Semitic controversy when in 2016 he gave Hungary’s prestigious Knight’s Cross award to Zsolt Bayer, a journalist known for making anti-Semitic and racist comments, resulting in numerous people returning their own awards in protest.