Hungarian Orthodox Jews Fear Extremist Attacks (Special Feature)

Thursday, July 9, 2009 | Tag Cloud

By Stefan J. Bos, Worthy News Europe Bureau Chief reporting from Budapest

The Magyar Garda is one of the far right groups in Hungary.

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY (Worthy News) -- Officials of Hungary's Orthodox Jewish community have urged the government to urgently provide police protection amid growing extremism and violent attacks in the country.

Religious Jews still try to pray at the few synagogues functioning normally in Budapest. With some 100,000 people, Hungary has the largest Jewish community in Eastern Europe, after Russia.

Yet, representatives of Orthodox Jewish groups have suggested it is increasingly difficult for Jews to openly express their faith amid extremist violence and death threats.

The Chief Rabbi of the Unified Hungarian Jewish Congregation, Slomó Köves, told Worthy News and its partner agency BosNewsLife he has asked the government to provide police protection for his synagogue and cultural center.

Köves, 30, said he fears a repeat of what happened in Mumbai where the rabbi and his wife, who he knew personally, were among five hostages found dead inside the remains of the Jewish center held by Islamist militants.


"My family has received death threats," Köves explained in an interview with Worthy News at his Budapest apartment, located behind an electric iron gate. Last Saturday, he and his two young children were apparently harassed by supporters of the Hungarian Guard, or Magyar Gárda, a paramilitary group.

"I was walking with my children to the synagogue and there was a group of these people and they said: 'Oh you Jewish worms, we are going to kill you, and get ready to be hanged'," Köves recalled. "My children didn't understand what [words] were flying. They didn't understand why they were upset at us. And we have asked the police and prime minister for constant police..."

The July 4 incident came shortly after police broke up a demonstration of the Magyar Gárda, whose members wear uniforms and flags that were used by Hungary's pro-nazi regime during World War Two.

Magyar Gárda has close ties with the far right party Movement For a Better Hungary, or Jobbik. Although Magyar Garda has been banned by a court, supporters of its perceived anti-Jewish and anti-Roma views, remain active.


"Even at subway stations we are not safe," added Köves. He said a fellow rabbi and his family were threatened and a colleague later nearly stabbed in a metro station by a knife wielding man who shouted "Holocaust loving Jews."

Above ground, another member of the same Jewish congregation was beaten up by what Köves described as a hit-and-run gang. Last week, he said, "Three young people followed this young man and followed him into his apartment building. They closed the door behind him and asked:  "Are you Jewish?" And when he said yes, they started kicking him and said: "You should go back to Auschwitz [concentration camp], you stinky Jews." They kicked him till he fell down and left."

The injured man reported the case to police who have said they are investigating three suspects.

Jewish officials want the government to help them halt the violence against Jewish and other communities, including Gypsies, also known as Roma.


They say far right groups such as Magyar Gárda and Jobbik are involved in spreading hatred at a time when Hungarians are searching for scapegoats because of the economic crisis.

Jobbik representative and member of the European parliament Krisztina Morvai has denied any wrongdoing. She said Jobbik's Magyar Garda protects Hungarians. "That's exactly what the Magyar Gárda does. They don't use arms, they don't use violence. They just show power. So that we are not tortured..."

Yet, for now, rabbis like Slomó Köves, have to be on their guard, as authorities claim they have no money to boost security. Persecution is nothing knew for Köves, who was the first rabbi to be ordained in Hungary since World War Two.

Some 600,000 Hungarians Jews died in the Holocaust. (Part of this Worthy News story also airs via Deutsche Welle, the international broadcaster of Germany).

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2 thoughts on “Hungarian Orthodox Jews Fear Extremist Attacks (Special Feature)”

  1. Who Watches?

    "Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep."
    Psalms 121:4

    Who Is The KING OF THE JEW?

    "Thus saith the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers, Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the LORD that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee."
    Isaiah 49;7

    What Does He Promise To The Persecutors Of Jacob?

    "And I will feed them that oppress thee with their own flesh; and they shall be drunken with their own blood, as with sweet wine: and all flesh shall know that I the LORD am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob."
    Isaiah 49:26

    So What To Do? What To Do?

    "Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth."
    "Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling."
    "Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him."
    Psalms 2:10-12

    Call On Him

    "And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call."
    Joel 2:32

    And Be Saved Beloved.
    Love, Joe

  2. I'm amazed by Hungarians.

    While other small countries with few resources are able to create wealth and prosperity using their creative intellect, Hungarians can only drag the 'dead past' in the hope of reinvigorating the present.

    Japan, with virtually no resources, has built prosperity from technical innovation
    based on hard work and creative intellect.

    Taiwan has done much the same thing. Israel, with absolutely no resources has used nothing but creative intellect to invent technical products copied and bought by the world.

    Korea, too, has come up with marvelous technical achievements purchased by the world.

    These are small and vulnerable countries, and yet have become giants in world achievement.

    Hungarians have managed to what? Persecute Jews and Gypsies? As if by some superstitious miracle their persecution will give Hungary the achievements other small countries have achieved through pure brain power and hard work?

    Can we conclude that Hungarians are a superstitious backward tribe that need to be dominated by their neighbors that have more common sense?

    Perhaps Austrians, as in the Astro Hungarian Empire, or perhaps by the Russians, as in the Soviet Empire, or perhaps The Turks, as in the Turkish Empire?

    Or Romans, or the Greeks? Perhaps this is why Hungary will never be an Empire in its own right. Hungarians are more interested in pursuing Dead Ideologies
    Superstitions, and shooting themselves in the foot instead of initiating national visions that the world will envy, and will want to copy and follow.

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