The Head of the Prime Minister’s Office, Gergely Gulyás arrived in Jerusalem on Wednesday to meet with several officials. He was also received by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday- reported MTI.
On the first day of his visit to Israel, the minister presented the Hungarian government’s domestic and foreign policy positions to Israeli journalists in Jerusalem after meeting with the Israeli government’s Minister of Strategic Affairs Ron Dermer, and Minister of Diaspora Affairs Amichai Chikli. The Hungarian minister held talks with former Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann and law professors.
On the war in Ukraine, Gergely Gulyás said that the Hungarian government shares Europe’s view that Russia has committed aggression against Ukraine in violation of international law. He underlined Hungary’s extraordinary efforts to help Ukrainian refugees and Hungary’s humanitarian and financial support for Ukraine, but stressed the need for peace and a ceasefire, because there is no guarantee that Ukraine can achieve more in the war than in peace talks.
He described the dependence on Russian natural gas as a legacy of the communist era, which Hungary had made significant efforts to change under the civilian government.
In response to questions, Gergely Gulyás analyzed the causes of the tensions with Brussels and outlined Hungary’s EU policy and expectations from the federal system.
Asked about a recent survey showing that about a third of the Hungarian population allegedly holds anti-Semitic views, Gulyás questioned the credibility of the survey and said that
the government stands for the principle of zero tolerance.
He drew attention to the thriving Jewish religious and cultural life in Budapest and the unique security in Europe. He reviewed Hungarian Jewish religious movements and their history, and said that the government seeks good relations with all Jewish religious communities.
Gulyás said that after the US moved its embassy to Jerusalem, this issue was on the agenda in all countries, and everyone had to answer whether they would follow Washington in this. The Hungarian government too, of course, but this is something that has to be decided at prime ministerial level.
Asked about Israeli judicial reform, he said that this was an internal Israeli matter. The best example of how pointless it is to interfere in these debates from abroad is the obvious difference in the way the EU and Israel deal with the issue of the Israeli government.
While the Hungarian Minister defended his country’s oft-criticized judicial system during a public interview at Jerusalem’s King David Hotel on 14 June, a group of about twenty protestors rallied against him outside his hotel. The activists stood on the pavement blowing whistles, beating drums and yelling into horns -reported The Jerusalem Post. Hungarian media was quick to turn it into headlines.
Anti-Netanyahu protests have been heating up for 24 weeks now in Tel Aviv against the government’s planned legal reform.
Some of these groups, such as the MQG have been linked to the US. State Department in the past. According The Washington Free Beacon, since 2020, they have sent $38,000 to the
left-wing Movement for Quality Government (MQG), the Israeli nonprofit stoking nationwide anti-Netanyahu protests that have seen protesters clash with police and target Netanyahu’s family members.
Hungary has been witnessing a similar pattern lately. Two months ago, US Embassy in Hungary funded a poster campaign, serving the purpose of incitement to war, which some felt seriously violated Hungary’s sovereignty, being an interference with our internal affairs.
Hungary, like Israel, is often too harshly criticized and isolated in its geographical region.”
Gulyás said in his interview with The Jerusalem Post.
“Today, I had a very good conversation with two members of the Israeli government and one mentioned that he has a feeling that we are in the same situation as Israel in the Arabi world, as it seems to be [that] Hungary [is] in the European Union,” he continued.
Unlike Israel, Hungary has “a written constitution, adopted in 2011,”, the politician, who is a jurist himself, and was a legal practitioner, said on Wednesday evening, explaining that the democratic nature of his government is “not a question.”
Gulyás, who is a Minister of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s Office is the first official from his country to visit Israel since the new government was sworn in at the end of December – reported the Israeli portal.
Via MTI; Featured image: Facebook/Gulyás Gergely