Rabbinical Center plans Budapest conference, protest

Parliament

As a response to what is seen as a rise in anti-Semitism in Hungary (and a concomitant rise in popularity of the far-right political party Jobbik), the Rabbinical Centre of Europe (RCE) is calling for a protest to be held on March 24 and 25 in Budapest. 

The as-yet unnamed event is set to host high-level rabbis from Israel and act as response to Jobbik’s “proposed fascist laws” as well as the party’s own plan to hold a rally this month in a former synagogue in Esztergom.

The RCE promises that “Hundreds of rabbis from around the continent are expected to attend the conference, which was organized in conjunction with the Hungarian government, which will also send delegates to attend.”

RCE director-general Rabbi Menachem Margolin commented that “It’s not easy being Jewish in 2014 Hungary. In recent years, there has been a double-digit percentage rise in the number of anti-Semitic incidents in Hungary.”

In January, an RCE delegation along with members of the European Jewish Union met with several top politicos in Budapest. After speaking with the likes of Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén and Budapest Mayor István Tárlos, Margolin came away with feeling positive: “We got the impression the country’s leaders see the situation as we do and are ready to make the efforts needed to fight against anti-Semitism in their country. As per their request, we will be at their disposal to assist them achieving this mission.”

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