Israel's Herzog welcomes Hungarian President Katalin Novak

This was not Herzog’s first meeting with Novak – they had initially met in London at the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.

President Isaac Herzog departs for COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, November 7, 2022. (photo credit: HAIM ZACH/GPO)
President Isaac Herzog departs for COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, November 7, 2022.
(photo credit: HAIM ZACH/GPO)

Hungarian President Katalin Novak arrived at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem on Thursday. Novak, who was elected some six months ago, is her country’s first female president.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog introduced her to his military aide Brig.-Gen. Naama Rosen-Grimberg, who is likewise the first woman in her position. He noted that most of his team are women, to which Rosen-Grimberg added that one day the military chief of staff will be a woman.

This was not Herzog’s first meeting with Novak – they had initially met in London at the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.

Herzog described her as “a great friend of Israel,” and said they have much to discuss on issues of common interest such as challenges to both Europe and the Middle East.

A Hungarian national flag flutters outside the Hungarian parliament building at a pro-Orban rally during Hungary's National Day celebrations, which also commemorates the 1848 Hungarian Revolution against the Habsburg monarchy, in Budapest, Hungary, March 15, 2018.  (credit: REUTERS)A Hungarian national flag flutters outside the Hungarian parliament building at a pro-Orban rally during Hungary's National Day celebrations, which also commemorates the 1848 Hungarian Revolution against the Habsburg monarchy, in Budapest, Hungary, March 15, 2018. (credit: REUTERS)

Hungary-Israel ties are "very strong"

Novak said that she was delighted to be in Israel and would like to come back on a state visit. She also invited Herzog to come on a state visit to Hungary.

Declaring relations between the two countries to be “very strong,” Novak said she wanted to make them stronger.

“We stand for a strong Israel,” she stated, telling Herzog about her visit to an Iron Dome battery where she had a chance to see how Israel defends itself and how Hungary can learn from this with regard to its own region.

Herzog expressed appreciation for Hungary’s hosting of many Israeli volunteers who are part of the humanitarian efforts on behalf of Ukrainian refugees who have found a temporary haven in Hungary.

In their discussions, the two presidents covered many bases including the importance of dialogue, the threat of Iran, the significance of Novak’s visit to Yad Vashem, antisemitism in Europe, Jewish life past and present in Hungary and social welfare.

Herzog noted that many great rabbis and Jewish innovators had come out of Hungary, not the least of whom was Theodor Herzl.