Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, in a meeting with his Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, acknowledged Hungary’s “sin” during World War II and vowed to “protect” his country’s Jewish community.
“We decided in World War II, instead of protecting the Jewish community, to cooperate with the Nazis. This will never happen again,” Orban said. “I made it clear to Prime Minister Netanyahu that the government will secure the Jewish minority and that we have zero tolerance to anti-Semitism.”
Hungary’s Nazi-allied government sent nearly half a million Hungarian Jews to their deaths during the Holocaust. Orban recently came under criticism for praising Hungary’s Holocaust-era leader Miklós Horthy, an ally of Adolf Hitler, as an “exceptional statesman.”
Netanyahu’s visit to Hungary, the first official trip to the country by a sitting Israeli prime minister in 30 years, comes amid controversy surrounding the Hungarian government’s campaign against Hungarian-born Jewish billionaire George Soros.
Israeli critics of Netanyahu have said he has not gone far enough to pressure Orban to end his campaign against Soros, which many view as anti-Semitic. Posters featuring Soros had been displayed in the country’s streets, depicting him grinning with the caption, “Let’s not let Soros have the last laugh.” Netanyahu has long been a critic of Soros, who funds anti-Israel causes.