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Washington Times Opinion: Hungary Safe and Welcoming for Jews

Ábrahám Vass 2019.12.13.

In an opinion piece published in rightist daily Washington Times, Danube Institute senior fellow Lee Cohen praises the Orbán government for “transforming Hungary into one of the safest and most welcoming places in all of Europe for Jews.”

Cohen published his opinion piece as a response to the recent publication of a poll by anti-Semitism monitor, Anti-Defamation League (ADL) that revealed “…hateful notions about Jews are rising in Eastern and Central European countries polled.” The poll revealed Hungary as being a particular offender.

According to Cohen, the ADL poll “ignored the policies and actions of the Orbán government that are transforming Hungary into one of the safest and most welcoming places in all of Europe for Jews.” He then lists that over the course of the last six months two synagogues have been opened in Hungary, the Orthodox Jewish Communities Association has been officially recognized and granted “special status,” and the organization of the Maccabi Games.

He notes that in 2018, Orbán made his first visit to Israel, where he actually apologized for Hungary’s role in the Holocaust, and took a stance on deepening ties. He then listed the number of diplomatic maneuvres the government has recently made towards Israel, often contradicting the EU’s position, which has a number of times criticized Israel for its controversial and oppressive policies towards Palestinians.

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He also cites Slomó Köves, the head of the Association of United Hungarian Jewish Congregations, which has friendly ties with Fidesz, who told The Jerusalem Post last month that “Hungary has one of the most positive governments in Europe toward Israel and is proudly one of the safest places for Jews in Europe today.”

featured image: illustration; via MTI/Noémi Bruzák