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Tension Between Hungary and Israel; Israel Refutes Hungary’s Charges

Formal Hungarian charges that members of the Israel Legation in Budapest had falsified passports and engaged in other illegal activities were categorically rejected today by a spokesman for the Israel Foreign Ministry.

The charges included allegations that the Legation members also had distributed money to foreigners in Hungary and to Hungarian nationals. They were contained in a protest from the Hungarian Foreign Ministry to the Israel Legation in Budapest.

(In Budapest today, Israel’s Minister Y. Tuval called at the Hungarian Foreign Ministry and orally rejected the charges contained in the Hungarian note this week-end.)

The Israel Foreign Ministry spokesman carefully avoided disclosing anything about the content of the Hungarian protest beyond what had been publicized by the Hungarian announcement. The Foreign Ministry spokesman said all the allegations were “completely unfounded.”

The note, which was handed to the Israel Foreign Ministry during the week-end, surprised political observers here who said that in recent weeks there had been indications of improved Israel-Hungarian relations from the low point of last October. At that time, the Hungarian Government ousted three Israel diplomats in retaliation for the detention in Israel of Zoltan Greguss, a visiting Hungarian actor who was accused of an immoral act with an Israel girl.

Greguss was acquitted and returned to Budapest. Tension between the two countries eased and the Hungarian Government even asked permission to expand its legation in Israel by an increase in the number of diplomats at the legation to which Israel agreed.

The observers suggested that the latest Hungarian allegations might be a new attempt to pressure Israel on several issues which have been unsettled for several months.

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