Is­rael PM praises Hun­gary fight against anti-Semitism

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Is­raeli leader Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu yes­ter­day praised Bu­dapest for “stand­ing up for” the Jewish state, at talks with Hun­gar­ian pre­mier Vik­tor Or­ban who is un­der fire at home for al­legedly stok­ing anti-Semitism. “I want to thank you for stand­ing up for Is­rael in in­ter­na­tional fo­rums, you have done this again and again,” Ne­tanyahu said at a press con­fer­ence with Or­ban in Bu­dapest.

He added that Hun­gary, as the birth­place of mod­ern po­lit­i­cal Zion­ism founder Theodor Herzl, was “at the fore­front” of coun­tries fight­ing anti-Zion­ism. Ne­tanyahu is the first Is­raeli prime min­is­ter to visit Bu­dapest since the fall of com­mu­nism in 1989. The land­mark trip brings to­gether two right-wingers en­am­ored of US Pres­i­dent Donald Trump and with a dis­dain for the left-lean­ing lib­eral global or­der bankrolled, as they see it, by the likes of US bil­lion­aire Ge­orge Soros.

“The (Is­raeli) prime min­is­ter is a great pa­triot and suc­cess be­longs to those who are pa­tri­ots, who don’t push na­tional iden­tity and in­ter­ests aside,” Or­ban said yes­ter­day. “Is­rael’s his­tory teaches that we will lose the things we don’t fight for.” The hard­line poli­cies of the pair-de­scribed as “spir­i­tual broth­ers” by Hun­gar­ian me­dia-have sparked ten­sions with Brus­sels. But in east­ern and cen­tral Europe, the mus­cle-flex­ing has found fer­tile ground. Ne­tanyahu will to­day meet pre­miers of the Viseg­rad Group-Poland, Slo­vakia and the Czech Repub­lic plus Hun­gary-whose na­tion­al­is­tic stances have also in­creas­ingly placed them at odds with the rest of the EU. “All these states are very pro-Is­rael,” Is­raeli an­a­lyst Raphael Vago told AFP. “They vote in our fa­vor at the Euro­pean Union and the United Na­tions.” Ne­tanyahu will at­tend Bu­dapest’s Great Sy­n­a­gogue with Jewish com­mu­nity lead­ers, be­fore de­part­ing Thurs­day.

Anti-Soros graf­fiti

The trip comes at a sen­si­tive time for Or­ban who faces a back­lash over his vir­u­lent cru­sade against Soros, a Hun­gar­i­an­born Jewish emi­gre. Some posters daubed with graf­fiti have at­tacked the fi­nancier for his al­leged sup­port of mass im­mi­gra­tion.

Many in Hun­gary’s 100,000-strong Jewish pop­u­la­tion-one Europe’s largest have ac­cused Or­ban, in power since 2010, of turn­ing a blind eye to an­ti­Semitism or even en­cour­ag­ing it to stave off grow­ing sup­port for the far-right. Or­ban how­ever has in­sisted the bill­boards were not about Soros’s Jewish­ness but the “na­tional se­cu­rity risk” posed by his sup­posed wish to “set­tle a mil­lion mi­grants” in the EU. — AFP

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