At a recent referendum, the population of Hungary expressed their wish to join the European Union, Our editorial comment suggests, that the EU will almost certainly protect us from traditional anti-Semitism of the political extreme right, but instead we will need to face a modem, “politically correct” anti-Jewish attitude: anti-Zionism,
The “Palestinian case” will be the one that all the “losers” of the war in Iraq will use for trying to show that they still have influence, their word in the international field. This way, in the long run, Israel may gain from the fall of the bloody dictatorship in Baghdad, yet in the immediate future the country will have to face a lot of tensions, claims János Gadó in his assessment of the situation.
The Budapest Jewish Community and the Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities have held their elections. Gusztáv Zoltai director (CEO) of both organizations was re-elected without the delegation of any other candidates. Since Zoltai has a powerful influence upon finance, administration and information, his re-election is a guarantee that no significant changes will take place in the organizations officially representing Hungarian Jews. The organization of orthodox Jews has also held it’s assembly. The Hungarian Jewish orthodox community is characterized by the unique feature, that it remained intact after 1989. Finance and administration have been under the authoritarian management of Hermann Fixler for 25 years.
Our women’s section, Esther’s Bag tells us about Bet Debora, a Jewish feminist society in Berlin, whose members have visited Budapest recently. The society has organized two conferences so far on, among other things, on the role of women in religion, and on creating their own liturgy, as well as on the myth of the Jewish family, about the marriage of homosexuals and about the Jewish identity of women born into mixed marriages. In the second half of the Esther’s Bag, a 78- year-old woman shares her memories of 1944 with us. “Why is it interesting and important to us readers, after so many historical works, testimonies and novels published, to now hear Ms Edit’s story as well? It is because today we know: there is no such thing as the one and only holocaust narrative” – claim the editors of the section.
One of Szombat’s colleagues, Patrícia Margit, interviewed Tommy Lapid, leader of the Shinui party, now member of the governing coalition in Israel. Among other things Mr Lapid said: “Two years ago I was delegated to the Middle -East conference of the Council of Europe. I was exposed to 4 days of commotion: all the European representatives were attacking us without inhibition. During the whole debate I witnessed only four comments in support of Israel: two of these were made by Hungarians, János Bársony from the socialist party (MSZP) and Mátyás Eörsi from the free democrats (SZDSZ), a third one by a Christian German, the fourth comment came from a French Jew whose name rather symbolically was Dreyfus.”
An exhibition has been opened in the Jewish Museum in Budapest about the history of Israel. In his opening speech Miklós Haraszti stressed the similarity between the ideas of the founders of the state of Israel and those of the leaders of Hungarian freedom fights.
Ágnes Heller analyses Miklós Jancsó’s new film from the perspective of being an ironic confrontation with the Holocaust and with the communist dictatorship.
Nelli Koltai publishes an analytical overview of a book of essays (The Invisible Voice) related to Jews, written in the past decade by 70 year old György Konrád. The key point of this author’s recently published autobiographical novel “Departure and Returning Home” is the period between 1944 and 1945. The book was reviewed by György Vári.