At the anniversary, a conference was held - instead of a celebration - to emphasize the excellent state of bilateral relations. Hungarian MP Janos Fonagy emphasizes that in Hungarian parliament, there is consensus on good relations with Israel.
Hungary and Israel signed an agreement on the renewal of diplomatic relations on September 18, 1989.
In order to celebrate the 20th anniversary of this event, the Hungarian Institute of International Affairs (HIIA) and the Israeli Embassy to Hungary – in cooperation with the Israel Council on Foreign Relations – organized a political conference in Budapest this September with prominent speakers from the two countries, including Rafael Barak, Senior Deputy Director General of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. HIIA director János Terényi stressed that the organizers decided to hold this conference instead of a celebration to emphasize the excellent state of bilateral
Also welcoming the participants was the Israeli Ambassador to Hungary, Aliza Bin-Noun who pointed out that 20 years ago, Hungary was the first communist country to establish diplomatic
relations with Israel. She was of the view that bilateral relations have been developing “with amazing speed and intensity”. She added that in the early 1990s, Hungary played an important
role in helping the emigration of Soviet Jews to Israel. The third introductory speaker was János Fónagy, a member of Hungarian Parliament for the largest opposition party Fidesz. He underlined that
“the solid principle for the development of relations between Hungary and Israel is based on the fact that both states are democracies.
”The other connecting element is the sizeable Jewish community in Hungary. Fonagy, who is also the chairman of the Hungarian-Israeli Committee of the Hungarian Parliament, told Diplomacy and Trade
magazine after his speech that this community is very much interested in good relations between the two countries. As a politician of a party that is forecast to win next year’s parliamentary elections in Hungary, Fónagy emphasized that there is already a consensus among the parties of the current parliament on supporting the good Hungarian-Israeli relations, and this is expected to continue or even strengthen if Fidesz forms the next government as it happened when this party was in power a decade ago. ”The political consensus on this matter is also demonstrated by the past two decades in Hungarian political life,” he added.
He reminded that a couple of years ago, a delegation by the then opposition Fidesz visited Israel and “the members of this delegation, myself among them, were received with open mind and good will both on the political and social level,” Fónagy pointed out. The Hungarian-Israeli Committee of the
Hungarian Parliament has been working since the establishment of the democratically elected parliament in this country within the framework of the Interparliamentary Union.“Three years ago, I was honored to be elected as the chairman of this committee. Our work is tied primarily to events and fields deemed important by both sides.”
These include agriculture, technical development or education. Such bilateral committees as this one have primarily a good-will function. They are not engaged in legislation work but rather bringing
together the political decision-makers and important social figures of the countries concerned in order to strengthen mutual trust.
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