Netanyahu and Orbán join forces

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been visiting Hungary since Monday. Hungarian leader Viktor Orbán has promised Netanyahu that he will have 'zero tolerance' for anti-Semitism in the country. Many observers see these words as mere lip service in view of the controversial anti-Soros campaign. What do the two heads of government expect to gain by joining forces?

Open/close all quotes
Die Tageszeitung taz (DE) /

Clean bill of health for Hungary's PM

With his visit the Israeli prime minister has lost all credibility in the fight against growing anti-Semitism in Europe, comments taz:

“Netanyahu needs allies in Europe and Viktor Orbán is his kind of man. The two right-wing populists are on the same page when it comes to marginalising critics, the freedom of expression and of the press and human rights. Hungary also leapt to Israel's aid and protested against the EU's ruling on mandatory labelling for products from the West Bank settlements. Conversely, Netanyahu's visit is a godsend for Orbán. If the head of the Jewish state doesn't have a problem giving him a friendly handshake then no one can accuse him or his party of anti-Semitism. Netanyahu has given Orbán a clean bill of health.”

Gazeta Wyborcza (PL) /

Israel needs the Visegrád states

Netanyahu has sided with Orbán despite the anti-Soros campaign, Gazeta Wyborcza comments, explaining:

“Both leaders have a grudge against the opposition, free media, foreign immigrants, human rights, an interventionist EU and George Soros. ... Like the other Visegrád states Hungary is among Israel's closest allies. ... So why should Israel's prime minister side with the Jews rather than with Orbán - or the Viségrad group? ... Just because the Jews have held on to their old-fashioned anti-fascism and their sensitivity to anti-Semitism in Europe, which has changed so drastically? ... The prime ministers of the Visegrád group have four votes in the European Council and in the United Nations.”