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Netanyahu meets Hungary's Orban

Netanyahu's visit, the first visit by an Israeli prime minister for 30 years, will open a new chapter in bilateral relations and serve as a basis for "cooperation focusing on the future", Orbán said, adding that the car industry would be one such area of cooperation.

Viktor Orbán welcomed the Israeli PM "as a patriot" and said "patriotic governments will be successful in future". The Hungarian Premier also thanked Netanyahu for Israel's contribution to Europe's security. Viktor Orbán also said that Hungary had committed a crime in the Second World War by failing to protect its Jewish citizens from the Holocaust.
The Hungarian government acknowledges Israel's right to self-defence, Orbán said, adding that Hungary expects other countries to similarly acknowledge Hungary's own right to self-defence. He insisted that Hungary "has disputes because it does not want to have a mixed population, it does not want to succumb to external influences". "Hungary does not want to change its ethnic composition even if we are not perfect," Orbán said. At the meeting, both leaders expressed mutual respect for each other's country and agreed that laying the foundations for long-term good relations was a shared goal. He highlighted Hungary's Jewish minority and said that the Hungarian state fully guarantees their security.
Benjamin Netanyahu told the press conference that "Hungary and Israel are aware of the past but look to the future", adding that "the future belongs to such countries". Netanyahu said that his talks with Orban had focused on concerns raised by the Hungarian Jewish community, adding that he appreciated Orbán's response. The Israeli prime minister welcomed Hungary's support for his country in international forums and appreciated that Hungary was in the forefront of countries fighting against the "de-legitimisation" of Israel, which he called "a new kind of anti-Semitism".
Ahead of an Israel-Hungary business forum on Wednesday, Netanyahu said that his Budapest talks could give "real impetus" to bilateral business ties. He said that a "great future" lies ahead of both countries but warned that modern technology was not enough without market reforms. He also called for closer cultural ties. At their meeting, the two leaders signed cooperation agreements in the fields of culture, innovation and the development of self-driving cars.
The Israeli Prime Minister is criticised by a left-wing pundit, while his visit is interpreted by a right-wing commentator as convincing proof that the accusations of anti-Semitism levelled against the Hungarian government from time to time are groundless.
In Népszava, Gábor Horváth borrows the title of Neil Simon's famous play to call the Prime Ministers of Hungary and Israel 'the odd couple'. Netanyahu, he explains, needs a partner within the European Union who might dampen the sharply critical attitude prevailing there regarding Israel's settlement programs on the West Bank, while his Hungarian counterpart needs an Israeli Prime Minister who 'keeps silent about anti-Semitism in Hungary'. He believes that the statement by the Israeli ambassador to Budapest criticising the anti-Soros billboard campaign was an expression of genuine Israeli opinion about anti-Semitism in Hungary, while Netanyahu corrected it out of purely political considerations.
Magyar Hírlap 's Mariann Őry, on the other hand, finds it absurd to suppose that Mr Netanyahu would lend his weight to anti-Semitic practices for any reason whatsoever. She calls the first visit by an Israeli Premier to democratic Hungary an event of historic importance, and suggests that this is precisely why the Left is unhappy about it. Őry finds it self-evident that criticising Soros is not the same as being anti-Semitic, and thus accusations of anti-Semitism which are aimed at discrediting the incumbent government overwrite all logic. The accusers' problem, the pro-government commentator argues, is that Netanyahu is too authentic a source to say that critics of Soros should not automatically be considered an anti-Semite – and that he is one of them.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 July 2017 17:02

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