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Hungarian minister asks journalist to return award over anti-Semitism

(JTA) — Hungary’s human resources minister asked a journalist who has made anti-Semitic statements to return a state honor.

“After the decision was made, I learned about statements you have made in recent years with which I cannot identify because they run counter to the values espoused by myself and the government,” the minister, Zoltan Balog, wrote in a letter Tuesday to Ferenc Szaniszlo, a television presenter for Echo TV who has made anti-Semitic statements and called Roma “apes.” 

“I immediately publicly acknowledged that I had made a bad decision. Since I have no other means, I hereby ask you to please return the Tancsics Prize that I mistakenly awarded to you. I trust you will make a wise decision."

The letter was posted on the ministry’s website. Szaniszlo and others received the award for journalists last week.

Several recipients returned their awards in protest of the decision to give the same honor to Szaniszlo.

Israel’s ambassador to Hungary, Ilan Mor, has written to the Hungarian government to protest the decision to recognize Szaniszlo.

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