Szijjártó: Another 65 Hungarians Evacuated From Israel

  • 13 Oct 2023 6:51 AM
  • Hungary Matters
Szijjártó: Another 65 Hungarians Evacuated From Israel
Another 65 Hungarian nationals including 18 children have been rescued from Israel, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said.

The group are aboard a ship on its way to Cyprus, the foreign ministry quoted Szijjártó as saying.

The rescued Hungarians will be met by members of the Hungarian embassy at the port, and will be provided a special flight to return to Budapest on Friday afternoon, the minister said.

He added that the next group of Hungarians still in Israel would soon be notified about the next evacuation operation.

“The goal continues to be to help all Hungarians in trouble return home,” Szijjártó said.

Hungarian Air Force Rescues 325 People from Israel

Fully 325 people, including 46 children, have been evacuated from Israel aboard three aircraft of the Hungarian Air Force, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said on Monday.

The situation in Israel remains “extremely worrying”, with some areas practically in a state of war, according to a foreign ministry statement. The Hungarian government’s top priority in such a situation is to ensure the safety of Hungarians, he said.

The government has established contact with hundreds of people, 215 of whom were evacuated on two aircraft of the Hungarian Air Force last night, he said. One plane then returned to Tel Aviv to rescue 110 more people, he added.

All Hungarians who have asked for assistance in returning home have landed in Hungary or are en route home, with the third flight having recently left Israel’s airspace, Szijjártó said.

Altogether 310 of those evacuated are Hungarians and 15 of them foreign nationals, among them Israeli, Swedish, German, British, Austrian and Portuguese citizens, he said. Fully 46 of those rescued are children, he added.

Staff at the Hungarian embassy in Tel Aviv remain on 24-hour call and the consular emergency centre in Budapest is also working with increased staff, the minister said.

Flights between Budapest and Tel Aviv continue to operate as scheduled, Szijjártó said, but he urged Hungarians to cancel their trips to Israel unless they were absolutely essential. He urged those travelling to the Middle Eastern country to register for consular protection.

“We continue to stand by Israel; we condemn the terrorist attack against the country and call on international political players to demonstrate responsibility in this situation so that an escalation of this wartime situation can be avoided,” he said.

Gulyás: Hungary Fully Supports Israel

Hungary fully supports Israel in its fight for sovereignty, security and right to self-defence, the head of the Prime Minister’s Office has said.

Gergely Gulyás told the International Pro-Israel Summit organised by the Center for Fundamental Rights that “true friends show up in times of trouble”.

“The first thing we can wish for Israel in the current situation is that it should regain control over the entire territory of the state of Israel and establish the security guarantees needed to prevent similar bestial attacks from happening in the future,” Gulyás said.

The events also serve as a message to Europe that border protection should stand above debate. It must be a task for all countries that protect the external border zone of Schengen, he added. “If we fail to do that, the current conflict may have tragic consequences also for Europe,” Gulyás said.

Joining forces is most important in the current situation, meaning that the coalition behind Israel must be strong, he said. Meanwhile, Gulyás called Saturday’s attacks on Israel “brutal” and “incompatible with human existence” and expressed “maximum solidarity” with Israel.

Gulyás: Danger of Terrorism Leaking into Europe

Terrorists may come to Europe from Gaza unless the EU’s borders are protected, Gergely Gulyás, the head of the prime minister’s office, told a pro-Israel conference. He also warned that migrants in several countries of western Europe had welcomed the developments in Israel.

“If Europe fails to consider its own security it could find itself on the losing side of this conflict, too.” He said supporting terrorism was impermissible. He also suggested that “US diplomacy should assess who is a friend and who is an enemy”, adding that the US government had “deviated from the earlier directions set under President Trump”.

“As a result they might have made deals under which they might have also supported countries promoting terrorism,” he said.

Hungary, which has the largest Jewish community in central Europe, is proud to maintain special relations with Israel, Gulyás said. “Israel faces continuous threats and is making great sacrifices to preserve the most fundamental human values,” Gulyás said. He also expressed concern about Israel’s community of some 300,000 people of Hungarian origin.

Fundamental Rights chief Miklós Szánthó said Hungary and Israel were “not only political but natural allies … champions of sovereignty”. He said “both countries will oppose even international trends if it comes to their sovereignty, their people, or protecting their borders”. “We are connected through a love of God, our homelands, and families … things that have come under fire by woke terrorists,” he insisted.

Yacov Hadas-Handelsman, Israel’s ambassador to Hungary, said Saturday’s attacks had come unexpected and he compared the developments to “a combination of 11.09 and the Bucha massacre”.

He said the perpetrators must pay a “similar price”. Israel must win the war, he said, but added that the conflict would “not be short”.

The ambassador advocated caution because “this murderous ideology cannot be changed”. “When we see that murdering children, women, and civilians is hailed in Toronto and Berlin and nobody stops the celebration, it indicates a problem not only for Israel but for the whole of the international community,” he said.

Hadas-Handelsman thanked the Hungarian government for its efforts to fight discrimination against Israel at international forums and its zero tolerance for anti-Semitism.

According to the ambassador, the Hungarian Jewish community was safe, enjoyed freedom of expression and culture, and would not face such attacks as seen in other large cities of Europe.

He also commended the Hungarian government for investing large amounts of money in efforts to reinvigorate Jewish culture and preserve cemeteries.

Szijjártó: Clear Distinction Must Be Drawn Between Refugees, Migrants

The international community “must finally draw a clear distinction” between refugees and migrants as this would go far in solving “the migration crisis”, Péter Szijjártó, the minister of foreign affairs and trade, said in Geneva.

 The dual pressure Hungary is under from the east and south illustrates the need to distinguish clearly between refugees and migrants, Szijjártó told a meeting of the executive committee of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), according to a ministry statement.

The distinction is based on international law, which grants everyone the right to stay in the first safe country if forced to flee their country. However, they do not have the right to “cross a dozen safe countries” until they arrive in the location of their choosing, he said.

Hungary has seen over one million refugees arrive from Ukraine since the war started, and has ensured equal access to health care and education to all, and is helping them to find jobs, he said.

At the same time, the situation on the country’s southern border “is outrageous”, because those arriving there crossed several safe countries while violating international law, he said.

“They also want to enter Hungary illegally, which is a crime,” he added. Last year, Hungary recorded 275,000 illegal attempts to cross the border, and 150,000 so far this year, he said.

Further, some people smugglers and migrants, he said, were now armed with automatic weapons and had fired at border guards several times.

“This cannot be tolerated; just like the statements of certain politicians that we should put up with it,” he said.

Migration waves are fuelled in Europe by measures that encourage people to leave their countries, boost the “business model” of people smugglers and force sovereign countries to give up their right to decide who they want to allow into the country, Szijjártó said.

Instead, the focus should be on handling the root causes of migration and on creating the circumstances for people to stay in their homelands, he said.

Mandatory redistribution quotas would turn the European Union into a “magnet” for migrants, he warned.

 “And we all know the consequences. Parallel societies emerge, the terror threat rises, and modern anti-Semitism is growing in the western half of Europe,” he said.

Szijjártó said that whereas all refugees deserved help — “just as Hungary does as a first safe country” — migrants must be stopped.

Németh: Hungary Condemns Hamas's 'Barbaric Attack'

Hungary condemns Hamas’s “barbaric attack” against Israel, Zsolt Németh, the head of parliament’s foreign affairs committee, said on Monday.

Not since the 1973 Yom Kippur War has Israel suffered on such a scale, Németh told MTI by phone whilst attending a session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in Strasbourg.

“Hungary stands in solidarity with Israel and recognises its right to self-defence.” He said the Abraham Accords had helped to forge peace in the Middle East and had been “the only viable path”.

“Let’s ask in whose interest it was to quash it,” he said.

Németh said on Monday evening he was attending a demonstration organised by French Jewish organisations in Strasbourg in front of the Council of Europe building, alongside members of the Hungarian delegation.

 “The spiral of violence can be felt increasingly keenly, and this puts a vital onus on the international community to restore and strengthen the world order,” he said.

Parlt's Hungarian-Israeli Friendship Group Condemns Attack on Israel

The Hungarian-Israeli Friendship Group of Parliament has condemned “in the strongest possible terms” Saturday’s terrorist attack against Israel.

In a statement on Monday, the friendship group said it was “shocked” by Saturday’s events, adding that they recognised Israel’s right to defend itself.

The group expressed its “sincere sympathies” to the Israeli government and people over their losses.

The group assured Israel of its support “in these difficult days”, expressing hope that further escalation could be avoided, “because a wave of violence in the Middle East could have dramatic consequences for global security”.

President Novák Condemns Hamas Attack Against Israel

President Katalin Novák condemned an attack carried out against Israel early Saturday by militants of Palestinian Islamic organisation Hamas.

“I strongly condemn the attacks against Israel that claim human lives. Hungary affirms its unwavering support for Israel. My thoughts and prayers with [Israeli President] Isaac Herzog and the Jewish people in these difficult times,” Novák said in a post on the social media platform X.

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