Israeli Lawmakers Urge Netanyahu to Cancel Hungarian Prime Minister's Visit

Viktor Orbán apologized for his attack on George Soros but has persisted in his anti-Semitic credo and Israel's shouldn't legitimize it, says Tamar Zandberg

Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban attends a news conference in Budapest, Hungary, June 21, 2018. Orban is wearing a black or dark gray suit, white shirt and orange tie.
Tamas Kaszas, Reuters

Hungarian President Viktor Mihály Orbán's planned visit to Israel should be canceled, Israeli lawmakers urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday.

"Viktor Orbán does not have to visit Israel," Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid said on Israeli radio. "Orbán is the man who said that Miklós Horthy is a great leader. He murdered my grandparents in Hungary. And the very fact that Netanyahu is making us the best friends in the world of these regimes in Europe is worrisome."

Lapid was not alone in his criticism.

"As you know, the leader in question is controversial, to put it mildly," Meretz chairwoman Tamar Zandberg wrote in a letter to Netanyahu on Wednesday, adding that Orbán promotes propaganda with a whiff of anti-Semitism, and that his vision relies on collaboration with Nazis.

"Exactly a year ago, Orbán praised Miklos Horthy, who had been regent [of the restored Kingdom of Hungary] from 1920 to 1944 and had been an ally of the oppressor Adolf Hitler," Zandberg wrote to Netanyahu.

Orbán kept to his ways in 2017 wit his campaign, which bore the hallmarks of anti-Semitism, against the Jewish billionaire George Soros, Zandberg wrote. The Hungarian leader did apologize for his remarks last year but continued with his nationalist doctrine, and the apologetic appearance he made at the joint press conference vanished into thin air, she wrote.

Zandberg further wrote that the Hungarian Jewish community is frightened by Orbán's policy, and by allowing him to make an official visit to Israel, Netanyahu is legitimizing it. Orbán does not deserve honor and legitimization  from Israel of all places, she concluded.