In late May, following a series of meetings with Israeli Foreign Ministry officials on the issue of anti-Semitism in Hungary, Zsigmond Perényi chief advisor at the Prime Minister's Office said: Israel is backing Budapest’s quest for chairmanship of International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.

During a week-long visit to Israel, a diplomatic delegation from the Prime Minister's Office in Hungary held a number of discussions with Israeli Government officials, members of the Jewish religious communities and representatives of the press. The agenda was centred on various issues, including the fight against anti-Semitism and xenophobia, the education of the Holocaust and the Hungarian Government’s preparatory work of the Holocaust Memorial Year 2014.

The chief reason for the visit of the delegation was to confer with Israeli officials and civil society organizations on account of Hungary’s upcoming Holocaust Memorial Year in 2014. This yearlong commemoration of the deportation of Hungarian Jewry will “involve as many as possible nongovernmental organisations from the civil society and the Jewish community.”

Photo: The Jerusalem Post

In talks with Foreign Ministry officials the delegation presented a detailed plan for the memorial year, which had been developed by a number of important stakeholders including, but not restricted to embassies, Jewish religious and civil organisations and ministries. The delegation’s other aim was to involve the Israeli organisations and authorities, which would provide tremendous support throughout the commemoration period. It was clarified too, that the Hungarian government would like to engage each and every Hungarian school from which Jewish children were deported in order to put a commemoration plaque in the school with the names of the victims of the child holocaust.

During the discussions, the delegation touched upon the topic of the Europe-wide rise of anti-Semitism in general, in connection with which there was agreement that the most important element of the fight against anti-Semitism is education. Through education children may be presented with the loss Hungarian society has suffered with the disappearance of a large part of the Jewish community in Hungary. The visit also gave opportunity for improving the official partnership between Yad Vashem and the Government.