(June 28, 2019 / JNS) The first new immigrants (olim) from Hungary to move to Israel through the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews arrived on Wednesday.
Sandor and Erika Horvat, a young couple in their 30s from Budapest, moved to Israel with their pet dog and plan to live in the coastal city of Haifa. They have no family in Israel, but felt growing anti-Semitic tendencies back home for quite a while.
“The decision to move to Israel was a gradual process. We sensed, in correlation with the economic instability, the increase of anti-Semitism in the streets,” said Sandor, who is an accountant by trade.
“The Jobbik Party’s entrance into the parliament—a far-right party that openly supports anti-Semitism—is creating a sense of apprehension,” he explained. “It also happens to now be the second-largest party in Parliament. We really felt that the world was going backwards, and that the 1930s were not so far away from the present reality. I am not personally afraid of walking in the street, but the rapid pace with which events are taking place is creating hostility.”
According to a most recent study published by the Kantor Center, the number of “major violent” anti-Semitic incidents worldwide increased by as much as 13 percent in 2018.
This trend was depicted in the increasing number of applicants seeking to make aliyah (moving to Israel) through the Fellowship who referenced anti-Semitism as a primary factor in their decision to rebuild their lives in Israel. In this effort, the Fellowship plans to assist any of the estimated 80,000 to 100,000 Jews of Hungary who are interested in making aliyah.
Chen Dor, the Fellowship’s director of immigrant absorption and the person taking charge of helping new arrivals from Hungary, noted that “over the past year, more and more olim have pointed to the state of anti-Semitism as the main motive for making aliyah. This is a red flag that requires immediate attention and preparation for absorbing olim.”
The couple had made their decision to move to Israel a little more than a year ago while attending a local celebration of Israel’s 70th anniversary. They closed their private businesses and took time to prepare.
“I hope I will be able to learn the language and transition quickly to work in my field in Israel,” Sandor had said at the time.
The Fellowship continues to advise the families and help them acclimate even after their absorption process.