Orban condemns politician's call for list of Hungary's Jews
Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban has condemned a far-right politician after he called for a list to be drawn up of all the country’s Jews, claiming that they represented a “national security risk”.
“I know how many people with Hungarian ancestry live in Israel, and how many Israeli Jews live in Hungary,” Marton Gyongyosi said last week, as his ultra-nationalist Jobbik party called on the government to take a tougher line with Israel over its recent bombardment of Gaza.
“I think such a conflict makes it timely to tally up people of Jewish ancestry who live here, especially in the Hungarian parliament and the Hungarian government, who, indeed, pose a national security risk to Hungary,” said Mr Gyongyosi, who studied at Trinity College Dublin and worked in Ireland for several years.
His comments attracted widespread condemnation from other Hungarian politicians, including members of the ruling Fidesz party, but Mr Orban was criticised for being slow to publicly comment.
Thousands of people rallied against anti-Semitism in Budapest at the weekend, and opposition leaders called on Mr Orban to let his views on the subject be known.
“Last week sentences were uttered in parliament which are unworthy of Hungary,” Mr Orban told parliament.
“I rejected this call on behalf of the government and I would like you to know that as long as I am standing in this place, no one in Hungary can be hurt or discriminated against because of their faith, conviction or ancestry.”
Mr Gyongyosi said his putative list would be useful “only in the case of dual citizens” of Hungary and Israel.