Hamas militants - Photo: Israeli Defence Forces (archive)

President in Jerusalem: ‘What’s happening to Israel cannot be indifferent to us Hungarians’

On her solidarity visit to Israel, President Katalin Novak said "what had been happening to Israel could not be indifferent to us Hungarians".
6. November 2023 5:59

After arriving in Jerusalem, the Hungarian president met her Israeli counterpart Isaac Herzog at his residence and later relatives of Hungarian citizens who had been taken hostage by Hamas.

Herzog told Novak that she was paying a visit to Israel in the saddest period in the country’s history just a month after the “incomprehensible, barbaric and unacceptable” terrorist attack by Hamas, an Islamist terrorist organisation controlling the Gaza Strip. In the attack the largest number of Jews were murdered on a single day since the Holocaust, Herzog said. He recalled the images of babies, elderly people and women captured by Hamas and taken to Gaza and thanked Novak for her visit. Herzog said that Israel will never forget that Hungary stood up for the country “in these difficult times” and that Theodor Herzl, also known as the father of the State of Israel, had been born in Budapest.

Novak told Herzog her position that Israel had the right to defend itself and condemned the attack by Hamas. She called the horrors of October 7 “shocking”, pointing out that the terrorist acts were unanimously condemned by all Hungarians irrespective of their political orientation and they stood in solidarity with Israel. Novak reassured her counterpart that Hungary stood up for Israel, adding that negotiation must not be held with terrorists, but you must protect the lives of civilians in the fight against them.

She told Herzog, and later the relatives of the Hungarian hostages that the suffering of the families was for her as a mother of three children “particularly painful”.

The Hungarian president expressed her heartfelt solidarity to the relatives of the hostages and listened first to the story of a mother whose daughters, aged 8 and 15, had been kidnapped by Hamas from a kibbutz on October 7. Novak afterwards learnt about the story of a 47-year-old father of two small children, who was told by Hamas that his wife and children would be left alive if he agreed to go voluntarily with Hamas. The man’s family members told Novak that they had had no information about him ever since.

President Novak promised to the families that she would all she could for the release of all of the Israeli hostages held by Hamas.

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