Hungarian envoy summoned over rising anti-Semitism

Extremist Jobbik party holds rally in former synagogue, as Jerusalem expresses ‘deep concern’ to Budapest’s ambassador

Jobbik party supporters burning an EU flag at a rally in Budapest in 2012. (screen capture/YouTube)
Jobbik party supporters burning an EU flag at a rally in Budapest in 2012. (screen capture/YouTube)

Israel on Friday summoned the newly appointed Hungarian ambassador to Israel, Andor Nagy, over the rise of anti-Semitism in the country.

The Foreign Ministry’s director-general for Europe, Rafi Schutz, expressed “deep concern” to Nagy over recent anti-Semitic statements by government officials, as well as a growing marginalization of Hungary’s role in the Holocaust.

Meanwhile Friday, Hungary’s far-right Jobbik party held an electoral rally in a former synagogue in the northern city of Esztergom.

About 120 protesters, many wearing yellow stars on their coats, wanted to form a human chain around the building to prevent Jobbik’s entry but were kept at bay by dozens of police.

Jewish groups said the presence of Jobbik, Hungary’s second-largest opposition party, insulted the memory of some 500 Jews deported from Esztergom during the Holocaust. Some members of Jobbik have made anti-Semitic statements,

Jobbik president Gabor Vona told around 250 supporters he had “nothing to be ashamed of” and that he was neither an anti-Semite nor a Nazi.

The former synagogue is now a community center that has hosted other political rallies.

The radical nationalist Jobbik party has made significant inroads in Hungary, impacting Jewish life there.

A September poll by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights noted that 91 percent of Hungarian Jews feel anti-Semitism in the country has increased in the past five years.

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