Hungary is one of, if not the safest country in Europe for Jews, Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén said at a conference of the European Jewish Association (EJA) in Budapest on Monday.
Zsolt Semjén stressed that
Hungary will not give in to any kind of antisemitism, be it far-right, far-left, jihadist or anti-Israel.
Semjén also said that the relationship between the Jewish denominations and the Hungarian state is „in perfect order.” All Jewish institutions — kindergartens, schools, hospitals, social institutions — are financed by the state, just like state institutions with similar functions.
The deputy prime minister also said that the government had concluded comprehensive agreements with the various Jewish congregations, under which properties stolen by the communist regime were either returned to them or, if they were not reclaimed, an annuity was paid.
In Hungary, there is zero tolerance for antisemitism, the Holocaust is taught in schools, there is, of course, a Holocaust Memorial Day, and the law against hate speech guarantees that the horrors of the Holocaust cannot be denied or relativized.
He said that there has also been antisemitism in Hungary, and that Nazism had also „produced its bitter fruits” in Hungary.
He added that the persecution of Jews in Hungary did not end with the fall of Nazi Germany, as the communist regime also persecuted religious Jews, nationalized properties belonging to Jewish congregations, and was anti-Israel.
He also pointed out that, in addition to the antisemitism of the Brown and Red dictatorships, there are two other types of antisemitism to be discussed in the European Union today: political Islam, the antisemitism of Islamic radicalism, which does not exist in Hungary, and the increasingly accepted anti-Israelism in the European Union.
Zsolt Semjén added that he also considers anti-Israelism to be a kind of antisemitism, and assured the Jewish community that the government will take action against it in Hungary and in the European Union.
„Israel can count on Hungary; we will veto any action within the European Union that unfairly attacks Israel”
– said Zsolt Semjén.
In his welcome address, Rabbi Menachem Margolin, president of the European Jewish Association (EJA), pointed out: One of the biggest problems facing Jewish communities in Europe is the restriction of religious freedom. In several countries, kosher slaughter and child circumcision, which are important for Jewish ritual life, have been banned or are about to be banned.
He said that the aim of the conference is for Jewish community leaders to share their challenges and for participants to develop a common plan of action to protect the Jewish community.
Shlomo Köves, chief rabbi of the Association of Hungarian Jewish Communities (EMIH), said
„Hungary is one of the safest places for European Jewry today.
„The Hungarian Jewish community is experiencing a renaissance, but at the same time, its leaders face many challenges.
In addition to the fight against antisemitism and for the security of the Jewish community, the most important thing is to raise interest in real Jewish life.”