Budapest Jewish festival draws record numbers
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Budapest’s largest-ever Jewish Summer Festival attracted record numbers in its first two days amid fresh warnings of anti-Semitism in Hungary.
Some 100,000 Jews from across Europe are expected to attend the weeklong cultural festival, which opened Aug. 24.
The festival is being hosted for the 16th consecutive year by the Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities, or Mazsihisz, and co-organized by the Israeli Jewish Congress.
Last week, Mazsihisz raised the alarm about the apparent rise in anti-Semitic rhetoric observed in Hungary in recent years. In a statement on its website, the group noted an Aug. 21 soccer match in which Hungarian fans held up a sign praising Laszlo Csatary, a war criminal who died earlier in the month at 98 while awaiting his second trial for torturing and deporting thousands of Jews in present-day Slovakia.
Last year, soccer fans in Budapest chanted about Auschwitz at a friendly match with an Israeli team. A few months later, a lawmaker for the ultranationalist Jobbik party said Hungarian Jews should be registered as a national risk.
On Aug. 25, the Center for Monitoring and Combating Anti-Semitism in Romania warned in a statement that Jobbik was “exporting extremism, racism, anti-Semitism and revisionist Magyar ideology to Romania.” — jta
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