Hungaryʼs government will open a foreign trade office in Jerusalem, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in the city on Tuesday, after meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on an official visit to Israel. The office is another step forward in the strengthening of ties between Hungary and Israel, Orbán noted.
At a joint press conference with Netanyahu, Orbán said he had informed the Israeli prime minister about the upcoming elections to the European Parliament in May, an important goal of which will be to crack down on anti-Semitism in Europe. Efforts are being made to ensure that the EUʼs new leaders will not finance NGOs that interfere in political matters and take an anti-Israel stand, he added.
Orbán noted that 210 Israeli-owned companies operate in Hungary, adding that the aim is to strengthen partnerships in innovative technology.
Netanyahu said Israel and Hungary are both small, democratic countries with small populations that are building a future based on peace, freedom and prosperity. This establishes strong ties between the two countries, he added, noting cooperation in the areas of defense, research, science, and environmental protection.
A summit of heads of government of the Visegrád Group of countries (Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia) was to have taken place in Jerusalem during Orbánʼs visit, with the participation of Israel, but it was cancelled after Poland pulled out over a war of words with Israeli political leaders regarding the role of Poles in the Holocaust. The summit would have been the first meeting held by the leaders of the Visegrád Group outside Europe. Instead, heads of government held bilateral talks.
Also travelling with the Hungarian delegation, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó met with Yuval Rotem, Director General of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Bilateral trade between Hungary and Israel exceeded USD 500 million in value last year, Szijjártó noted, with partnerships between the countries in the innovative automotive industry growing closer. Self-driving vehicles are the future of the automotive industry and the latest technology necessary for these developments is being used first in Israel, he added.
Szijjártó noted that Europeʼs biggest kosher slaughterhouse was recently inaugurated in southeast Hungary with a HUF 2 billion credit line from Magyar Eximbank and a HUF 540 mln grant from the Hungarian Investment Promotion Agency (HIPA).