On Tuesday, in another win for Israel since President Trump moved the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, Hungary became the first nation in the European Union to open a diplomatic mission in Jerusalem as it opened its trade office in Israel’s capital.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated, “Three diplomats from Hungary will be here. This is a step that Hungary is advancing to change the approach toward Jerusalem,” according to The Times of Israel. Hungary Today reported that according to Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó, 200 Israeli companies employ 5,500 people in Hungary, trade between the two countries totaled over $525 million last year, and Hungarian exports to Israel over the last decade amounted to over $300 million.
Szijjártó added that almost all of the Israeli companies doing business in Hungary are planning to grow their businesses there, saying, “In doing so, they create further jobs, boost Hungary’s technological level and contribute to the country’s rise among the winners of a new economic era based on those technologies.”
Unlike Belgium, which has banned kosher butchers, Hungary has no such anti-Jewish attitude; Szijjártó noted that Europeʼs biggest kosher butchery had been opened in southeast Hungary with a HUF 2 billion credit line from Magyar Eximbank and a HUF 540 mln grant from the Hungarian Investment Promotion Agency (HIPA), according to the Budapest Business Journal.
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in February that he had told the Israeli government that the European parliamentary elections would focus on curbing anti-Semitism in Europe. He stated he hoped European leaders would come forth “who don’t finance NGOs that meddle in political affairs and promote an anti-Israel position.” He said of the upcoming Maccabi Games in Budapest that they “will hopefully be the best so far.”
Orban also credited Netanyahu for smoothing relations between Hungary and central Europe. Netanyahu referred to the “strong bilateral bond” between the two countries, noting their joint fight against terrorism and extremist Islam as well as their cooperation on defense, research, science, and environmental protection.
The Trump administration’s commitment to Israel was demonstrated yet again roughly two weeks ago, when the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem merged with the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. State Department deputy spokesperson Robert Palladino stated, “We will continue to conduct all of the diplomatic and consular functions previously performed by U.S. Embassy Jerusalem. We will also engage in a wide range of reporting, outreach, and programming in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as with Palestinians in Jerusalem, through a U.S. Embassy Palestinian Affairs Unit (PAU), which will operate from our historic Agron Road location in Jerusalem.”
Prior to that, of course, the Trump administration made the historic move of moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem in May 2018. As The Daily Wire reported, only days later, three European Union countries — Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Romania — blocked an effort by the EU’s general council to condemn and “isolate” the White House for moving its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
The Daily Wire continued:
The effort, led by France, was designed to punish the United States for the decision to relocate its official presence in Israel, Axios reports. If all 28 European Union member nations had signed it, it would have signaled a major effort to oppose the United States’ change in policy and might have “embarrassed” the Trump Administration, even though the administration was adamant in its commitment to the move.