"Looking at Zion” is an online project that aims to present a comprehensive look into the Israel- Diaspora relationship. In order to reach this goal we present a series of questions to members of Jewish communities around the world, asking them to articulate their thoughts and feelings towards Israel.

The intervieweeVilmos Siklósi, Since 1995 i am serving as the President of the Jewish community of Zalaegerszeg, Hungary.

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The first evidence to the existence of Jewish community of Zalaegerszeg dates to the beginning of the 18th century. Over the years, the number of Jewish residents in the city grew and in 1944 it reached the number of about 1,070 people. During WW II the Jewish residents were placed in a ghetto and then sent to Auschwit. Only 100 of them came back to the city after the war ended. Today the number of Jews in Zalaegerszeg mounts only to A few dozen people.

In your opinion, what importance, if any, does the existence of a Jewish state has to you personally and to Jewish people in general?


“There is a Incredible importance of the Jewish state. Israel and the Diaspora are two sons of the same mother, but It should also stress the importance of the Diaspora, for without it the Jewish people would be a one-armed giant.”

Do you feel committed in some way to defend the future existence of Israel?

“Yes.”

Do you feel morally responsible for Israel’s actions (such as its management of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict)?

“Yes, we are watching the news, asking for seminars from professionals who will educate us into what is going on, how to respond to media attacks etc.”

In your opinion, what is the main thing Israelis fail to understand about the reality of being Jewish outside of Israel?

“That we are Jews same as them and that even though we live outside Israel we feel all what happens, as if we were Israelis.

How would you describe Israel’s policy (formally and in practice) regarding its relationship with the Diaspora?

“Not so good. In our case we had various issues in which we wanted more support from the Israeli government. We founded in 1995 an association named Beke–Shalom Baráti Társaság, without it’s activity there would be no Jewish communal and cultural life in Zalaegerszeg. Israel and it’s organizations should contribute to that more.

In your opinion, does Israel have an obligation to defend and help Jewish communities in need?

“Yes, by all means.”

Have you ever been to Israel?

“I have, I do it Very often.”


If an Israeli tourist should ever come across your hometown, which experience should he/she not miss?

“See the nature, the Museum in the city, the Jewish memorials, experience Hungarian music and dance.”

Anything you would like to add?

“Israel and the Jews are one nation and the diaspora and Israel should see it in the same view at all times.”



For more interviews with prominent members in Jewish communities around the world go to - 
lookingatzion.com 

Looking at Zion questionnaire  - 
http://goo.gl/forms/bZsJ0lO1yJ 
 

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