Several broken gravestones laying on the grass on July 23, 2012 in the Kaposvar Jewish cemetery
Several broken gravestones laying on the grass on July 23, 2012 in the Kaposvar Jewish cemetery, about 200 kilometers south-west of Budhapest. Photo by AFP
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BUDAPEST - Fifty-seven graves were desecrated in a Jewish cemetery in the central Hungarian city of Kaposvar by unknown persons, reported the MTI news agency.

Kaposvar Mayor Karoly Szita said he was "upset and disgusted." The local Jewish community has said the act, which took place late Saturday night, was motivated by racism.

The desecration comes amid protests in Israel and Europe over Hungary's habit of memorializing anti-Semites from the Holocaust era, when some 550,000 Hungarian Jews were killed.

Last week Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Hungarian President Janos Ader in Jerusalem that "Israel and the Jewish world are very anxious about the resurgence of anti-Semitism in Hungary," and that it was "of the utmost importance [for Hungary] to tackle symptoms of this dangerous phenomenon, before it spreads."

The controversy over Hungary's honoring of anti-Semites surrounded Ader's visit, during which he took part in the Knesset's observance of the centenary of Raoul Wallenberg, who rescued as many as 100,000 Hungarian Jews.

In 2008, as vice speaker of Hungary's national assembly, Ader spoke at a memorial for Albert Wass, a Hungarian author convicted of murdering Jews during World War II.