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On official working visit to Israel – Jerusalem – Tel-Aviv

Katalin Novák paid an official working visit in the Middle Eastern country, invited by President of Israel Isaac Herzog. In addition to Israel’s Head of State, President Novák met with outgoing Premier Yair Lapid and Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu, and held consultations with the leaders of local Christian communities. 

The working visit of the President of Hungary began at one of the bases of the Israeli Defence Forces, where – accompanied by Minister of Defence Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky she observed the operation of the anti-aircraft missile defence system protecting the airspace of the Jewish state, the so-called Iron Dome.

The Hungarian head of State paid a visit to  the Holocaust Memorial Centre in Jerusalem, the Yad Vashem Institute, where she was received by Dani Dayan, the president of the institute. She visited the Hall of Names and the Children’s Memorial, lit the Eternal Flame and laid a wreath in the Hall of Remembrance. According to Katalin Novák, Yad Vashem helps to remember, so that we may never forget the darkest era in history. The fight against antisemitism must be fought again and again, in which education, upbringing, and the handing down of stories may be the most effective tool – said Katalin Novák, who also believes that meeting the Hungarian survivors of the Shoah was an opportunity to ask for forgiveness.

Following her meeting with President of Israel Isaac Herzog Katalin Novák stressed: the alliance of Hungary and Israel is unshakable and Hungary has always stood by Israel on the international stage. She assured the Israeli Head of State that they could count on the support of the Hungarian people in the future as well. She pointed out that the relationship between Hungary and Israel is very strong and that a lot of work is invested to preserve and strengthen this relationship, both economically and politically.

In her press statement, the President of Hungary underlined that security is in the interest of every nation, that every nation has a right to its security, and that the Israeli and the Hungarian people know it very well, as they experience it first hand – Katalin Novák added. She recalled that Europe’s third largest Jewish community lives in Hungary, where Jewish culture is enjoying a renaissance today.

From among the leaders of foreign sates, Katalin Novák was the first to meet Benjamin Netanyahu, who at that point had already received the official invitation to form a government as the head of Likud. According to the President of Hungary, the basis for the close collaboration between Israel and Hungary is their identical understanding of independence, security and national identity. The President of Hungary thinks political, family, defence and economic relations should be further strengthened in the future. During her meeting with the Prime Minister-designate they also discussed the challenges in the Middle East and those posed by the Russian-Ukrainian war.

Katalin Novák met with outgoing Premier Yair Lapid in Tel-Aviv. The discussions focused on defence cooperation and the coordination of efforts to be made for peace.

In St George's Cathedral in Jerusalem, the Hungarian head of state was received by the leaders of Christian denominations in the Middle East. „It is important for me that I do not simply come to Israel, but to the Holy Land.” – the President of Hungary highlighted at the meeting, and then she went on to add: „Hungary, the country of St Stephen knows it very well „how difficult it is to preserve Christian culture today, but we are doing our best”. Hungary's leaders are Christians and committed to financially supporting Christian churches and Christian schools. According to Katalin Novák, this support does not stop at the country’s borders: „Precisely because we are Christians, we are responsible not only for ourselves, but also for the Christians of the world, and that is why we have taken the decision to help Christians who are persecuted.”.