A center named for the father of modern Zionism has been opened in Budapest.
Theodor Herzl was a native of the Hungarian city, where the Herzl Center was inaugurated Sunday evening. The education site’s aim is to introduce Hungarian Jews to Zionism, the Jewish nationalist movement.
“It is very important to focus on the fight against increasing anti-Semitism together with the Europeans and here in Hungary together with the Hungarian government,” said Natan Sharansky, head of the Jewish Agency for Israel, at the dedication ceremony.
He added: “In his day, Herzl believed that the establishment of a Jewish state would cause anti-Semitism to disappear. He was right about the future establishment of the State of Israel, but unfortunately anti-Semitism continues to rear its ugly head around the world. In many cases, the new anti-Semitism also targets the State of Israel. Israel has an important role to play in eradicating expressions of anti-Semitism along with the local Jewish communities.”
Sharansky also tipped his hat to the Committee on Anti-Semitism, a group that will research and monitor anti-Semitism in Hungary through the Israeli Cultural Center in Budapest, which was the driving force behind the new center.
“Nobody thought that after so many years of Herzl and after the Shoah, anti-Semitism would again reappear in Hungary,” said Avraham Duvdevani, president of the World Zionist Organization.
“Herzl was mistaken thinking that the Jewish state would be the solution against anti-Semitism.”
The Herzl Center will also feature exhibits on Herzl’s past, as well as his philosophies on anti-Semitism and Jewish identity.