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Hungary PM Orban visits Jerusalem Jewish shrine

"You have stood up for Israel time and time again in international forums," Netanyahu said. "It is deeply appreciated, and it is important."


PTI Hungary
Updated: 20-07-2018 14:58 IST
Hungary PM Orban visits Jerusalem Jewish shrine

The Hungarian premier, who arrived on Wednesday evening, has been accused of fanning anti-Jewish sentiment back home. (Image Credit: Twitter)

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban today ended a brief but controversial trip to Israel with a visit to a major Jewish shrine in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem.

Wearing a dark hat in accordance with Jewish practice which says that men must not go bare-headed, Orban arrived at the Western Wall --0 the holiest place at which Jews are allowed to pray -- accompanied by its rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz.

He placed a note in a crack between the wall's massive stones in keeping with the tradition of slipping written prayers or requests in between the stones that Jews believe were a supporting wall of their biblical second temple.

The Hungarian premier, who arrived on Wednesday evening, has been accused of fanning anti-Jewish sentiment back home.

"Europe's Most Extreme Nationalist Leader Visits the Jewish People's Nation-state," the left-leaning Haaretz daily said in an analysis published today, in reference to a contentious law passed yesterday by the Israeli parliament.

The government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, seen as the most right-wing in the country's history pushed hard for the law which defines Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people.

Israeli Arab lawmakers and Palestinians called the law "racist" and said it legalised "apartheid".

Orban and Netanyahu greeted each other warmly when they met in Jerusalem yesterday.

"I can assure the prime minister that Hungary has a policy of zero tolerance towards anti-Semitism," Orban said His host defended the visitor against accusations of stoking anti-Semitism.

"I heard you speak as a true friend of Israel about the need to combat anti-Semitism," Netanyahu said, noting that Hungary has spent millions of dollars renovating synagogues.

Orban, who described Netanyahu and himself as "a Jewish patriot and a Hungarian patriot", lauded cooperation between the two nations.

In a break with protocol for EU leaders, who usually visit Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas in Ramallah during such trips, Orban did not meet the Palestinian leader.

Netanyahu has sought closer ties with European nations willing to provide strong backing to Israel at the United Nations and in the European Union.

Hungary in December abstained when the UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to reject the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

It also joined the Czech Republic and Romania in blocking an EU statement criticising Washington's decision to move its Israel embassy to Jerusalem.

"You have stood up for Israel time and time again in international forums," Netanyahu said. "It is deeply appreciated, and it is important."

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

COUNTRY : Hungary

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