Budapest Jews to establish their own security service amid anti-Semitism fears
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Budapest Jews to establish their own security service amid anti-Semitism fears

Volunteer group to patrol Jewish district of Hungary’s capital, where drunk tourists have hurled insults at local Jews

Szalai Kálmán (left), head of the Foundation for Action and Defense (TEV), at a conference of the organization, November 29, 2017 in Budapest, Hungary. (Facebook)
Szalai Kálmán (left), head of the Foundation for Action and Defense (TEV), at a conference of the organization, November 29, 2017 in Budapest, Hungary. (Facebook)

A Hungarian Jewish organization that monitors and fights anti-Semitism on Wednesday said it was forming its own security service to patrol the historic Jewish quarter of the capital city Budapest.

“To prevent anti-Semitic atrocities, the Foundation for Action and Defense decided to create a kind of ‘self-organized security service,‘” the organization announced on its Facebook page.

Organization director Szalai Kálmán said the goal was to prevent “importing the plague of the anti-Semitism in north and west Europe” and do everything possible to ensure “Budapest does not become like some of the western cities,” an apparent reference to the rise in anti-Semitic attacks in other European countries.

Known by its initials in Hungarian, the TEV was organized in 2012 to fight anti-Semitism in Hungary. The group monitors and reports incidents and acts as a central coordinating organizer for the Jewish community’s efforts to combat attacks against Jews.

A swastika drawn on a bus stop in Budapest, Hungary and reported by the Foundation for Action and Defense (TEV) on June 2, 2015. (Facebook)

György Szabó, head of the Jewish Heritage of Hungary Public Endowment board, told the Népszava news website that verbal attacks against Jews were a regular occurrence in the city’s 7th district, known as “Elizabethtown.” Szabó said drunk tourists often hurl insults and shout “Heil Hitler” at Orthodox Jews who are identifiable by their head covering and appearance.

The Magyar Narancs news website said the TEV service is expected to be staffed by volunteers and work with law enforcement agencies.

A survey last year showed that two-thirds of Hungarian Jews believe anti-Semitism is a serious problem in their country.

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