Some Hungarian Jews Fear Anti-Semitic Rise

An article in a Reform Jewish magazine in Hungary advises Jews to leave town during next week's national holiday, for their own safety.

Hillel Fendel,

An article in a Reform Jewish magazine in Hungary named "New Life" advises Jews to "take a vacation" and leave the country during next week's national holiday, for their own safety. 

Though the article was written in the not-entirely-serious spirit of Purim, it expresses concern that the current tense political climate will be accompanied by anti-Semitism - as has been the case in the past.

The message was backed up by Peter Feldmeier, head of the Reform community - Hungary's largest Jewish contingent. Feldmeier spoke on Israel's Voice of Israel news broadcast today.

However, the rabbi of the Orthodox Jewish community in Hungary, Rabbi Shlomo Koves, feels that anti-Semitism is not a major issue.  "It's true that the right-wingers who want to topple the government also take an anti-Semitic tone sometimes," Rabbi Koves told Arutz-7 today, "but it is certainly nothing to make me want to leave Hungary.  Perhaps Jews shouldn't walk around during the anti-government rallies, but nothing more than that."

An educational advisor at the Lubavitch Center, Yaakov Banai, told Arutz-7, "There are two types of Jews here: Some who see themselves as Hungarians, and therefore easily become afraid when Jews are singled out, and others who see themselves as only Jews - and they are not afraid."

Banai said that there had been some anti-Semitic attacks last September and October, and another one in the city of Seged last week. 

Banai said that the exact number of Jews in Hungary is not known, but it is somewhat more than 100,000 - of whom he estimates that 5% are religious.  Over 550,000 Hungarian Jews were massacred during the Nazi Holocaust.