Hungary’s embassy in Israel plans controversial move to Jerusalem


Central Europe


Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban (l.) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shake hands. Photo AFP, Ariel Schalit

Hungary has plans to move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, but the details remain uncertain.

As reported by Politico, Israel’s foreign minister, Eli Cohen and the foreign minister of Hungary, Peter Szijjarto, had recently come to a deal on the change of location.

However, Hungary’s foreign ministry has neither confirmed nor denied the plans. The lack of certainty contradicts another recent report by the Times of Israel that confirmed Hungary’s plans to move its embassy next month.


Times of Israel also said that the switch will set a precedent for other EU member states to move their embassies to Jerusalem. If the plans go through, it will make Hungary the first EU state to move their embassy to an area that is opposed by the EU. Jerusalem remains a hotly contested area for many international organisations such as the United Nations (UN) and the EU. While it is considered the capital by Israelis, the area lacks a peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians. The EU also believes that the change would compromise its “long-term goal of a two-state solution for both Israel and Palestine,” as said in the Politico report.

Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orban, Israel’s Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu have enjoyed a long-standing relationship for many years, according to Reuters. Orban has been a critic of EU policies that would compromise Israel’s sovereignty. They have also found a common enemy in the billionaire philanthropist, George Soros, who continues to fund organisations and movements that undermine their policies.

Future Palestinian state

In 1980, the Israeli parliament officially declared Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel. However, the UN has recognized East Jerusalem as “occupied” and its status as “disputed,” as peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians are still ongoing. Palestinians want to see East Jerusalem as the capital of a “future Palestinian state.” A few other countries have followed suit in moving their embassies to Jerusalem. Former President Donald Trump moved the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem in 2018, the Reuters report said.

At the end of February, several leaders and academics came together to discuss the life of their Jewish communities in Hungary. Israel’s ambassador in Budapest, Yacov Hadas-Handelsman said to Hungary Today that Hungary and Italy remain the “safest places in Europe” for Jews.


Hadas-Handelsman also addressed the issue of anti-Semitism that is often disguised as “anti-Israelism. Jeffrey Kaplan, who spoke at the event as an American visiting fellow for the Danube Institute said that Hungary is misunderstood by Western media.

“The Western mainstream media often paints a distorted picture of Hungary, which is clearly contradicted by field research and interviews,” he said.



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