BUDAPEST (JTA) — An anti-Semitic attack on a Jewish citizen in Budapest has led to appeals to police for improved vigilance.
Three hooded assailants hurled anti-Semitic epithets as they severely beat their 27-year-old victim, a kosher restaurant supervisor, on June 30 in the Old Jewish Ghetto district in downtown Budapest, according to police spokesman Oszkar Sass. The assailants had first inquired whether their intended victim was Jewish before the assault.
Hungarian Prime Minister Gordon Bajnai on July 9 issued a high-profile appeal to law enforcement agencies to improve their vigilance against racist attacks suffered by Jews and other minorities
The case was brought to the prime minister’s attention by Chief Rabbi Somlo Koves of the United Jewish-Hungarian Religious Community. Fidesz, the major parliamentary opposition, also has condemned the attack.
Domokos Szollar, a spokesman for the Socialist caretaker government, said the prime minister had instructed Minister of Justice and Public Order Tibor Draskovics to propose ways of preventing the recurrence of such incidents. Bajnai also asked Draskovics to supervise and speed up the investigation.
The assault is classified as an aggravated case of violence directed against the entire community.
Koves believes that an upsurge in anti-Semitism has seriously undermined public safety in Hungary. He told the prime minister that both he and members of his immediate family had recently suffered anti-Semitic verbal abuse, and that he was aware of several recent instances of anti-Semitic hate speech escalating into physical violence.
The Anti-Defamation League on Friday called on the government of Hungary to pursue an “effective and comprehensive” investigation into the attack, and to take steps to root out anti-Semitism among law enforcement and within society.
Last month, the ADL wrote to the Hungarian prime minister to voice concerns about signs of growing anti-Semitism within the TMRSZ police trade union, which in a newsletter advocated anti-Semitism as “the duty of every Hungarian patriot,” and the strong showing of the extremist Jobbik Party in European parliamentary elections.