Daily Israel Report

Lapid Denounces Anti-Semitic Incidents in Hungary

Hungarians share responsibility for the deaths of Jews during World War II, Finance Minister says in speech in Hungary's parliament.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 10/2/2013, 2:12 AM

Lapid speaks in the Hungarian parliament
Lapid speaks in the Hungarian parliament
Robert Vamos photography

Finance Minister Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) said on Tuesday that Hungarians shared responsibility for the deaths of Jews in the last months of World War II.

Speaking during a conference on European anti-Semitism in the Hungarian parliament, Lapid said today's politicians must ensure such tragedies did not happen again.

He recounted the story of his father, former MK and government minister Tommy Lapid, who narrowly escaped being killed along with thousands of other Jews who were taken to the banks of the Danube and shot in public in the winter of 1945.

"A genocide of this scope could not have happened without the active help of tens of thousands of Hungarians and the silence of millions of other Hungarians," said Lapid.

"There is a stain on the honor of this house. For years we have tried to ignore this stain, but history has taught us that ignoring is never the right course ... Anti-Semitism has reared its ugly head in Hungary again. Hatred is not disappearing," he added.

There has been a rise in anti-Semitic incidents in Hungary over the past several years. These incidents include Hungary's chief rabbi being verbally abused on a Budapest street, anti-Semitic chants at a football match against Israel and pig's trotters being placed on a statue of Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who saved thousands of Budapest Jews in World War II.

Last year, a far-right deputy from the openly anti-Semitic Jobbik party called publicly for the resignation of a fellow MP who claimed to have Israeli citizenship.

The comments came after another Jobbik parliamentarian released a statement saying that a list should be compiled of all of the Jewish members of government.

At the World Jewish Congress held in Budapest several months ago, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban pledged to fight anti-Semitism, which he said was "unacceptable and intolerable."