Netanyahu meets with Orban in Hungary ahead of meetings with four European heads of state

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shake hands with his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban during a welcome ceremony at the Parliament building in Budapest, Hungary on July 18, 2017. (Photo: Haim Zach/GPO)

Prime Minister Netanyahu traveled to Hungary Monday, meeting with Prime Minister Viktor Orban ahead of meetings with the prime ministers of Czech, Slovakia and Poland.

Their meeting was one of several meetings Prime Minister Netanyahu had with European leaders this week as he continuous to increase European-Israel relations, particular in the areas of business, energy, security and agriculture.

Following their meeting in Budapest, both leaders gave an address to the press.

Prime Minister Orban spoke of the history of Jewish persecution in Hungary, speaking of the 600,000 Hungarian Jews who were killed during the Holocaust.

Orban stated on Hungary’s role of exterminating Jews during World War II “During World War Two Hungary did not honor this moral and political obligation. That is a crime, because we chose collaboration with the Nazis over the defense of the Jewish community. That can never happen again. The Hungarian government will defend all of its citizens in the future.”

He then went on to state that during his meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu he “made it very clear to the prime minister” that Jews in Hungary are safe and secure and that “being Hungarian citizens that they are, will be fully guaranteed by the Hungarian state.” He added that “I’ve also made it very clear to the Prime Minister that the Hungarian government has a zero tolerance policy against all forms of anti-Semitism, adding that Hungary is “proud of the “And this is something that we are proud “renaissance of Jewish life” in Hungary as it “is a substantial contribution to the common achievements of the Hungarian nation quite clearly.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu then spoke, referring to Hungary as “in many ways, the birth of modern Zionism, the movement that led to the establishment of the modern Jewish state because in Hungary was born our modern Moses, Theodore Herzl.

He then spoke Israel’s increasing relations with Hungary, announcing his meeting with business CEO’s from both Israel and Hungary (Visegrad Group) to “discuss economic and business terms” of future cooperation.

He then thanked Hungary for defending the Jewish state, thanking Orban for “standing up for Israel in international forums. You’ve done that time and again. We appreciate this stance, not only because it’s standing with Israel, but it’s also standing with the truth.

Orban was the second leader to address anti-Semitism with Prime Minister Netanyahu this week. On Monday, Netanyahu finished his tour in France where he met with President Macron, the prime ministers taking part in a ceremony to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the deportation of Parisian Jews to the extermination camps. Macron stated during his address at the ceremony “We will never surrender to the messages of hate; we will not surrender to anti-Zionism because it is a reinvention of anti-Semitism.”

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Netanyahu will hold a meeting with senior members of the Visegrad Group/Four, the Czech, Hungarian, Polish and Slovakian alliance.

On Wednesday Netanyahu will hold meetings with Prime Minister Bohuslav of Czech, Poland’s Prime Minister Beata Szydlo and Prime Minister Robert Fico of Slovakia, the meetings centered on business and diplomatic cooperation.

This article originally appeared on Behold Israel, July 18, 2017, and reposted with permission.