From anti-Semitism to Aliyah: Hungarian Politician Immigrates to Israel

Csanad Szegedi giving a speech when he was a leader in the Jobbik party (screenshot Youtube)

A former politician who was a prominent member of an anti-Semitic party in Hungary and was notorious for his blistering comments about Jews has begun the process of immigrating to Israel with his family.

Csanad Szegedi, 34, who announced in 2012 that he has Jewish roots, said at a World Zionist Organization conference last weekend that he is planning to make aliyah with his wife and two children.

The Hungarian has come a long way. As a member of parliament with the Jobbik party from 2003 to 2012, the outspoken politician accused Jews of “buying up” the country and desecrating national symbols. He also castigated the “Jewishness” of the political elite.

Szegedi seemed to be unaware of his Jewish roots until confronted by a convicted felon who presented him with evidence of his family’s history in 2010. After this meeting, Szegedi spoke with his grandmother who told him about her family’s past as Orthodox Jews.

“It was then that it dawned on me that my grandmother really is Jewish,” Szegedi told Hir TV at the time. “I asked her how the deportations happened. She was in Auschwitz and Dachau and she was the only survivor in the extended family.”

In 2012, Szegedi publicly acknowledged his Jewish roots and resigned from the party.

During Szegedi’s time with Jobbik, the Anti-Defamation League actually described the party as “openly anti-Semitic.” Szegedi was also a founding member of the Hungarian Guard, a group whose black uniforms and striped flags were modeled after a pro-Nazi party which briefly governed Hungary at the end of World War II and killed thousands of Jews.

In all, 550,000 Hungarian Jews were killed during the Holocaust.

“After the nightmares that my relatives underwent in the Holocaust, my family and I very much want to be part of the positive dream that Israel constitutes for us,” he told Maariv, an Israeli newspaper.

In 2013 Szeged, who was raised Presbyterian, said in an interview that he keeps Shabbat and tries to observe kosher dietary laws. As for his plans when he moves to Israel, Szegedi told Maariv he will dedicate the next season of his career to fight anti-Semitism.

“Professionally, I will immediately look for bodies and organizations with which I can coordinate in the fight against anti-Semitism,” he said. “Personally, I will visit Jerusalem and the Western Wall, and of course, I will go out to eat real Israeli food, falafel and hummus.”