Arab Lobbyists in Budapest Hit Wall Protesting Jewish Transit to Israel

A group of Arab ambassadors protesting Hungary’s granting of transit facilities to Soviet Jews immigrating to Israel apparently made no headway at a meeting with Prime Minister Jozsef Antall here last week.

Hungary’s approach to the passage of Soviet Jews through Hungarian territory on the way to Israel did not change after the meeting with the Arab envoys, a government spokesman said.

He confirmed that the ambassadors had raised the question of transit but that the prime minister told them Hungary acts according to its longstanding tradition of granting humanitarian aid to refugees.

He defined Hungary’s role in the movement of Soviet Jews as essentially “technical” and asserted that Israel gave Hungary guarantees that the newcomers from the Soviet Union would not be settled in the administered territories, the spokesman said.

The government spokesman admitted in reply to other questions that the Arab ambassadors also complained of what they discerned to be an “anti-Arab approach” by the Hungarian news media.

They were told by the prime minister that the Hungarian press is free and not controlled by the government.

Antall said that many times, he himself had not been particularly pleased by the media’s treatment of his government.

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