Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his concern Tuesday at the resurgence of anti-Semitism in Hungary at a meeting in Jerusalem with the Hungarian president Janos Ader, according to statement from his office.
According to the statement, Netanyahu said: “Israel and the Jewish world is very anxious about the resurgence of anti-Semitism in Hungary,” adding that “it is of the utmost importance to tackle symptoms of this dangerous phenomenon, before it spreads”.
One recent incident threatened to derail Israeli-Hungarian relations when, after Hungarian parliamentary speaker Laslo Kover attended a ceremony to honour pro-Nazi Hungarian writer Jozsef Nyiro, his Israeli counterpart Reuven Rivlin withdrew his invitation to a parliamentary event to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Raoul Wallenberg.
Nyiro was a known supporter of Miklos Horthy, WWII Hungarian leader and Nazi colluder and his successor Ferenc Szalasi who assumed power when Horthy subsequently fell out of favour with Nazi Germany. President Ader’s visit to Israel was arranged after Kover’s invitation was revoked in June.
His visit comes as the world’s most wanted wartime Nazi, 97 year-old Laszlo Csatary, who is accused of colluding in the deaths of 15,700 Jews during the Second World War, was discovered living peacefully in Budapest by the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, they revealed on Sunday.
In June, Holocaust survivor and Nobel peace laureate Elie Wiesel returned Hungary's highest honour, which he had received in 2004, accusing the authorities of "encouraging the whitewashing of tragic and criminal episodes in Hungary's past".
In recent months, parks have been renamed and statues erected in honour of Miklos Horthy, Hungary's wartime leader and an ally of Adolf Hitler, while anti-Semitic writers have been reintroduced into school curriculums.
Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg saved the lives of tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews during the Holocaust by using his position as envoy to the Nazi occupied city to issue protective passports and shelter Jews.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of his birth. He was awarded the title of "Righteous Among the Nations" by Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Memorial and Institute in Jerusalem.