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Report claims Hungary will move embassy to Jerusalem next month, Hungarian president denies

Hungarian Prime Minister Mr. Viktor Orban seen at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City, on the last day of his 2-day official state visit in Israel, July 20, 2018. (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Hungary will reportedly move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem next month.

The decision to move the embassy reportedly comes after “intensive talks” between the foreign ministers of Israel and Hungary, Eli Cohen and Péter Szijjártó, The Times of Israel reported.

Unnamed sources in the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs believe the timing of the embassy move is meant to be politically advantageous for Netanyahu by “granting the premier a diplomatic achievement amid political instability.”

Hungarian President Katalin Novak disputed this report, however, saying that while she had seen such news in the media, “a decision so far has not been made on moving our embassy in Israel.”

Hungarian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mate Paczolay noted that Hungary has taken steps to acknowledge the centrality of Jerusalem in the past, saying, "We have already moved the commercial department of our Israeli Embassy to Jerusalem years ago."

Netanyahu praised Hungary’s decision at the time, saying, “This is a very exciting moment for us because it’s the first European diplomatic mission opened in Jerusalem in many decades.”

Such a decision would certainly be in keeping with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s pro-Israel views. A right-wing leader who has been in office since 2010, Orbán has developed a close relationship with Benjamin Netanyahu and the Israeli government over the years. Orbán, who identifies as a Christian and is a member of the Hungarian Reformed Church, has been praised by Netanyahu as “a true friend of Israel.”

Should Hungary decide to move its embassy to Jerusalem, it would be the first member of the European Union to do so.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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