Hungary's Orban pledges 'zero tolerance' for anti-Semitism in Israel visit

22 Juillet, 2018, 16:07 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Prime Ministers Viktor Orban left of Hungary and Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel meet in Jerusalem

A year ago, Orban hailed as an "exceptional statesman" the country's wartime leader and Nazi ally Miklos Horthy, who enacted anti-Jewish laws and under whose watch over half a million Jews were deported to Auschwitz during the Holocaust.

Speaking in Hungarian, Orban said he was proud Jews in Hungary could freely identify themselves comfortably and he vowed to cooperate with Israel on the war on anti-Semitism, purportedly declining in Eastern Europe while rising in Western Europe. "The visit will promote the good bilateral relations that are notably expressed in supporting Israel's positions in European and global forums", the statement read.

"I know what you are doing against anti-Semitism". Later, police removed the protesters who had detained the Hungarian leader.

"I can assure the Prime Minister that Hungary has a policy of zero tolerance towards anti-Semitism", Mr Orban said. It could endanger the world.

Hungary built fences on its southern borders to divert the flow of migrants in late 2015 and Orban has said repeatedly that the influx into Europe of mostly Muslim migrants must be stopped or the continent's Christian values, lifestyle and culture will be lost.

Orban chalked up his country's strong bilateral ties with Israel to the two leaders' "excellent personal ties" and "because the two countries have patriots as leaders".

The trip by Mr. Netanyahu was the first to Budapest by an Israeli prime minister since the fall of Communism in 1989.

A statement released by the Israeli foreign ministry welcomed Orban, saying his visit will help promote ties between the two countries and strengthen the European support for Israel.

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"Under Orban's leadership, Hungary has broken free of the shackles of democracy".

After the meeting with Netanyahu, which will include statements to the press, Orban will meet with President Reuven Rivlin and then, in the afternoon, tour the Yad Vashem Holocaust remembrance center.

Orban was scheduled to have dinner Thursday with the Netanyahus at the prime minister's residence in Jerusalem.

It is also expected that on Friday morning, the Hungarian Prime Minister will visit the Wailing Wall.

The trip is a striking sign of burgeoning ties between Netanyahu and the controversial Hungarian statesman, who has been accused of playing up anti-Semitic stereotypes, and comes following reports of Israeli efforts to lobby the United States to end isolation of the man considered a symbol of Europe's move toward the hard right.

Israel's opposition groups condemned Orban's visit to Israel as a "disgrace".

Amnesty International in Israel organized a protest against Orban's visit to the memorial, rejecting "restraint toward the words of praise for anti-Semitism, for racism and anti-democratic persecution".

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