Daily Israel Report

Hungarian Jews Protest Verbal Attack Against Rabbi

About 120 Hungarians wearing yellow stars inscribed with the word “Jude” protested against the rising rate of anti-Semitism in the country.
By Rachel Hirshfeld
First Publish: 6/8/2012, 3:45 PM

Yellow star in protest
Yellow star in protest
Israel news photo: Flash 90

About 120 Hungarians wearing yellow stars inscribed with the word “Jude” lined up in front of Parliament’s office building in central Budapest on Thursday to express their solidarity with retired Chief Rabbi Jozsef Schweitzer, who was verbally insulted in the street two days ago.

On Tuesday, Schweitzer, 90, was approached by an unidentified passer-by, who shouted “I hate all Jews.”

Participants told the state news agency MTI that the demonstration was organized in reaction to recent “atrocities” against the Jewish community.

President Janos Ader, the government, Hungary’s largest churches, political parties, and the National Roma Government, condemned the verbal attack against the retired rabbi.

Schweitzer said he was grateful for the demonstration of sympathy and confirmed that the president of the republic, Janos Ader, had paid him a personal visit.

“There are bad things which have no good in them, but in this case there was really a lot of good,” Rabbi Schweitzer asserted. “I should like to say thanks to everyone who expressed their sympathy.”

He continued to state that the attack against him was not the main issue of the demonstration, but rather a microcosm of the larger issue-- the increasing rate of anti-Semitic incidents in the country. 

“This time hatred was not generated. Hatred has roots which are perhaps of an ideological, economic and political nature. Whoever wishes to live in a democratic state should undertake a revision of these questions,” he said.

According to MTI, demonstrators told its correspondent that despite the assurances of the Hungarian government that it intends to protect the Jewish population, concrete steps, rather than words, are needed for tangible results.

The demonstrators were quoted as saying that the government should take steps against including openly anti-Semitic authors in the national school curriculum.