Hungarian Predicts Resumption of Ties with Israel by Summer

Diplomatic ties between Israel and Hungary will be resumed “within three months,” a former prime minister of Hungary predicted on a visit here this week.

Professor Jeno Fock, who was prime minister when Hungary severed diplomatic relations with Israel in 1967, also said Monday that he thinks that Poland, Bulgaria and Czechoslovakia are likely to renew their diplomatic relations with Israel soon and that “the Soviets are likely to follow later, as well,” the Jerusalem Post reported.

Fock, who served as prime minister from 1967 to 1975, arrived in Israel last week heading a delegation of representatives of MTESZ, the Federation of Technical and Scientific Societies in Hungary. The delegation has toured the Technion in Haifa and visited high-tech development sites.

Last week a spokesperson for the Hungarian Foreign Ministry told a news conference in Budapest that he does not think ties could be renewed soon.

The spokesperson said Israel would have to show “some gestures” indicating a softening of its opposition to an international peace conference on the Middle East before ties could be resumed.

Fock now says it was a mistake for Hungary and all Soviet bloc states besides Romania to cut diplomatic ties with Israel at the time of the 1967 Six-Day War, because it neither unified the Arabs nor forced Israel to make concessions. Israel and Romania retained full diplomatic relations on the ambassadorial level.

During the past two years, the Soviet Union and Israel have exchanged consular delegations, Hungary and Poland have opened interest offices in Tel Aviv, and Israel has set up similar low-level representation in Budapest and Warsaw.

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