On Thursday afternoon, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán received Ronald S. Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress (WJC), in the prime minister’s Budapest office, after his guest attended the opening of the Rumbach Sebestyén Street Synagogue in the Hungarian capital, Orbán press secretary Bertalan Havasi told the press.
The ICOMOS award-winning reconstruction of the monument of international significance was carried out with 3.2 billion forints (€9.27 million) worth of government support.
During the meeting, which was also attended by Katalin Novák, minister without portfolio for families, Orbán and Lauder stated that Hungarian Jews can continue to count on the help of the Hungarian government, as they did in past years. The president of the WJC praised the government’s support to the Jewish community for the fight against the coronavirus epidemic, as well as for health, social and cultural investments and institution-building to improve the quality of life of Hungarian Jews.
Lauder called Orbán’s recent visit to Israel encouraging and thanked the Hungarian government for its support for the Jewish state on international forums. Orbán noted that the Hungarian government remains firmly committed to zero tolerance against anti-Semitism and offered further cooperation to the president of the WJC in the spirit of common values.
The Rumbach Sebestyén Street Synagogue was completely renovated with government support of 3.2 billion. Inaugurated in 1872, the building, which lay in ruins since World War II, was renovated in four years. In her greeting, Novák said that it was a noble task to save a building from extinction, but the government did not only support the renovation. More importantly, they hope life will also return to the building.
András Heisler, president of the Association of Jewish Communities in Hungary (Mazsihisz), thanked the builders for their work and the government’s support. He said that thanks to them, after more than 70 years of limbo, they have created a multi-functional space where the prayers and ancient melodies of the community can be heard again, where they can provide an opportunity for Jewish community development and space for “fantastic cultural, public cultural, and tourism” events.
Lauder said most states were afraid to stand up for the Jewish people over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict recently, but Hungary was one of the few states that had the courage to do so, adding that the Jewish community around the world was grateful for that.
Title image: Ronald S. Lauder (L) and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (R) meet in Budapest on June 10, 2021. (source: Viktor Orbán’s Facebook page)