Gergely Gulyas – Photo: MTI

Gulyas has talks in Jerusalem

Gergely Gulyas, the head of the Hungarian Prime Minister's Office, started official talks in Jerusalem on Wednesday.

Gulyas met Ron Dermer, Israel’s minister for strategic affairs, and Amichai Chikli, minister for diaspora communities, as well as former Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann, and university professors.

After his talks, Gulyas met local journalists and gave a briefing on the Hungarian government’s foreign and domestic policies. He said the Hungarian government shared the European position that Russia had committed an aggressive act against Ukraine. He also highlighted the importance of providing help to Ukrainian refugees and that of seeking a ceasefire and peace.

On another subject, he referred to Hungary’s dependence on Russian gas as a “heritage from communist times” and said the government had made significant efforts to remove that dependence.

Answering a question referring to a recent survey suggesting that one third of the Hungarian population had anti-Semitic leanings, Gulyas questioned the credibility of the survey and said the Hungarian government promoted zero tolerance for anti-Semitism. The Hungarian government is working to build good ties with all religious Jewish communities, he added, and noted Budapest’s flourishing Jewish cultural and religious life. The city is “uniquely secure” in European comparison, he said.

On the subject of the United States’ moving its embassy to Jerusalem, Gulyas said the “question has been raised in all other countries, too, whether to follow suit.” As for Hungary, he said “the decision will be made at the prime minister’s level”.

Answering a question about the Hungarian parliament delaying a vote on Sweden’s NATO entry, Gulyas cited the Swedish government’s “unfounded criticism of Hungary”. “If they don’t consider Hungary a democracy, why would they want to join a club where we are members,” he asked. Sweden’s “mistakes” should be clarified through dialogue, Gulyas added.

On Thursday, Gulyas is scheduled to meet PM Benjamin Netanyahu.

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