to make aliya
Thu, 22 Sep 2016, 05:52 AM
one-time MP for Hungary's extremist right-wing and antisemitic Jobbik
party, who quit when he discovered he was Jewish, is now making aliya
In an interview with The Jerusalem Post's Hebrew language sister newspaper, Ma'ariv,
Csanad Szegedi said that he is waiting with bated breath for the moment
that he becomes an Israeli citizen and can contribute from his wide
experience to the fight against international antisemitism.
34, revealed his intention to make aliya with his wife and two children
at a World Zionist Organization conference that took place in Budapest
over the weekend.
to discovering his Jewish roots, Szegedi was known for his extremist
positions and antisemitic statements as a member of Jobbik. He was one
of the founders of the Hungarian Guard, an extreme nationalist group
whose members don black uniforms and see themselves as the descendants
of the Hungary's fascist Arrow Cross Party, which collaborated with the
Nazis during World War II. Szegedi rose in the ranks of Jobbik through
the years, becoming a senior member and even serving as the party's
vice president until 2012, and as the party's representative to the
June 2012, Szegedi stunned Hungary, particularly his fellow Jobbik
members, when he revealed that his grandparents on his mother's side
were Jewish. His grandmother survived Auschwitz and his grandfather was
in forced-labor camps. Szegedi began to learn about Judaism, to observe
the Sabbath, to keep kosher and to go to synagogue. He has since had
the opportunity to visit Israel.
discovering his roots, he quit all of his posts in Jobbik, which
distanced itself from him, claiming that the reason for his leaving was
not his Jewishness, but rather a corruption scandal. Since undergoing
the transformation, he has become an activist against antisemitism in
Europe as a whole, and in Hungary in particular. He is now completing
the transformation by making aliya to Israel with his family.
Why did you decide to make aliya and live here with your family?
is an amazing country, and I believe that every Jew who lives in the
Diaspora seriously considers making aliya to Israel, at least once in
his life. There are many more positive elements than negative elements
in being a Jew, and the biggest gift for any Jew is the existence of
the State of Israel. After the nightmares that my relatives underwent
in the Holocaust, my family and I very much want to be part of the
positive dream that Israel constitutes for us."
Have you already signed up for aliya?
begun the aliya process. I submitted the paperwork and am awaiting the
approval of my documents. My family is very supportive."
Does the security situation in Israel deter you?
not at all. I've visited Israel a number of times in recent years and I
always felt safe. I know that the security in Israel is among the best
in the world."
Where do you want to live in Israel?
is very difficult to make such an important decision because there is
much uncertainty. Of course I have great love for the capital,
Jerusalem, and that is a serious possibility for me, but I would like
to also contribute to the community and strengthen a less central city,
so I'm still thinking about it."
In Hungary you were a member of the Jobbik party. Do you want to be in politics in Israel as well?
is no doubt that I have the political bug. I closely follow politics in
Israel, but I still have not considered joining a specific party. Right
now, I am acting in the arena that I am familiar with, Hungary and
Europe, in order to raise awareness on the issue of antisemitism and to
work for the betterment of Israel, as a sort of compensation for the
past. However, I have a lot of years of experience in politics and I
would be happy to contribute my experience to Zionist organizations in
Israel as well."
Would you like to get closure by serving as a Knesset member in Israel?
I said, I have a lot of political experience and I do not completely
rule out entering politics, but in the initial stage I would like to
continue to focus on my activities against antisemitism in Europe."
What is the first thing you will do when you officially become an Israeli?
I will immediately look for bodies and organizations with which I can
coordinate in the fight against antisemitism, and I will of course seek
to join the World Zionist Organization's extensive activities in Israel
and abroad. Personally, I will visit Jerusalem and the Western Wall,
and of course, I will go out to eat real Israeli food, falafel and
vice chairman-acting chairman Yaakov Hagoel, who organized the
conference in Hungary, welcomed Szegedi's announcement and said that
the WZO will assist his aliya process and help his family's absorption
it has been reported that 35% of the Hungarian population is
antisemitic," Hagoel said. "This should turn on a red light for the
Jewish community in Hungary and for all Diaspora Jews. In light of the
grave nature of the situation in Hungary, there is no doubt that the
story of Szegedi, who took an active part in incitement against Israel
from within the Hungarian Parliament and now actively promotes its
image to the world, serves as an inspiration."