Media appearances

Hungary is one of the safest countries for the Jewish community in Europe

Summary of the 'Anti-Semitism in Hungary: Appearance and Reality' book release

On 28 February 2023 scholars and leaders of Hungarian Jewish communities discussed the situation of the Jewish people in Hungary at the Danube Institute. The event was organized on the occasion of the release of the two-volume book Antisemitism in Hungary: Appearance and Reality edited by researchers of the Danube Institute. The book examines the life of the Hungarian Jewish people through in-depth interviews with leaders of various Jewish civil organizations and religious communities. The conference was opened by Yacov Hadas-Handelsman, Ambassador of the State of Israel in Hungary. He pointed out that according to a survey, Hungary and Italy are the safest countries for Jewish people in Europe. He also warned guests that modern-day antisemitism may often appear in form of anti-Israel sentiments. According to István Kiss, executive director of the Danube Institute, though findings from the book serve as an indication of the improved situation in Hungary (notwithstanding negative Western tendencies), antisemitism must be fought continuously. The editor of the book, Danube Institute’s visiting fellow from the US, Jeffrey Kaplan, highlighted how local research and interviews refute the distorted images of Hungary painted by Western mainstream media outlets. According to András Kovács, professor at CEU, all forms of antisemitism must be fought as they are not only manifested by aggressive actions and anti-Israeli sentiments. Rabbi Baruch Oberlander, founder and leader of the Hungarian Chábád Lubavich community explained how Hasidic communities help to maintain Hungarian traditions in Jewish diaspora communities. Other lecturers of the conference were Jehuda Hartman, professor at Bar Ilan University, Menachem Karen-Kratz, independent Israeli scholar, György Szabó, president of MAZSÖK, Mordechai Inbari, professor at the University of North Carolina, Ádám Schönberger, president of the MAROM Klub Association, and Tibor Pécsi, historian and pedagogy expert of the March of Life Foundation. Apart from the topic of antisemitism speakers examined the demographic situation of Hungarian Jews, their historical experiences, the memory of the Holocaust, and characteristics of the Jewish cultural life. Furthermore, participants discussed the challenges ahead of Jewish people and shared their insights on how to preserve Jewish identity, culture, and traditions in the 21st century.

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