Hungary: A Beacon of Safety for Europe’s Jewish Community

Hungary stands out as a safe haven for Jewish communities, according to statements made during Israel’s Diaspora Affairs and Antisemitism Minister Amichai Chikli’s recent visit to the country. Amidst a backdrop of increasing antisemitic incidents across Europe, especially after the traumatic events of October 7, Hungary’s commitment to the safety and security of its Jewish citizens is both commendable and noteworthy.

Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó of Hungary proudly declared the nation as “the safest haven for Jews in Europe today,” a statement that resonates deeply with those seeking refuge from the rising tide of hatred and discrimination. This proclamation is supported by a significant observation: in Hungary, unlike some other European capitals where the threat of antisemitism looms large, Jews can walk freely without the need for armored vehicles or armed guards at the doors of their institutions.

This unparalleled level of safety is attributed to Hungary’s robust conservative leadership and responsible immigration policy, as noted by Minister Chikli. The government’s approach has cultivated an environment where Jewish traditions and expressions of faith, such as wearing a Star of David or kippah, are embraced rather than feared.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s administration has taken proactive steps to combat antisemitism, pledging $3.4 million towards initiatives dedicated to fighting this age-old prejudice within Europe. This commitment further underscores Hungary’s role as a leader in safeguarding Jewish life and heritage.

Minister Chikli’s visit served not only to acknowledge Hungary’s exemplary protection of Jewish communities but also to discuss critical issues facing Israel and its relationship with the European Union. Topics of terrorism, antisemitism, and particularly the controversial role of UNRWA, were on the agenda. Chikli highlighted the concerning involvement of some UNRWA staff in terrorist activities, underlining the need for accountability and reform within international agencies catering to Palestinian communities.

The narrative surrounding Prime Minister Orban and his government, often marred by accusations of antisemitism, contrasts sharply with the reality on the ground in Budapest. It’s a city where Jewish identity is not just protected but celebrated, setting a powerful example for other nations grappling with the rise of antisemitism.

As Israel and Hungary continue to strengthen their bonds, rooted in mutual respect and shared values, the story of Hungary’s steadfast commitment to Jewish safety is a beacon of hope. It’s a testament to the possibility of a world where faith and identity can be celebrated freely, without fear. The State of Israel, with its foundational values of democracy, tolerance, and resilience, stands in solidarity with Hungary’s efforts, promoting a future where all Jewish communities can thrive in peace and security.