BUDAPEST (JTA) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the European Union “crazy” at a private meeting with the leaders of four Central European countries, unaware that a microphone was transmitting his comments to reporters outside.
“The EU is the only association of countries in the world that conditions the relations with Israel, that produces technology and every area, on political conditions. The only ones! Nobody does it. It’s crazy. It’s actually crazy. There is no logic here,” Netanyahu said Wednesday in widely reported remarks.
Netanyahu was meeting with the leaders of Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Poland, known as the Visegrad Group.
The microphone was switched off after about 15 minutes, according to reports.
Netanyahu also had one-on-one meetings in downtown Budapest on Wednesday with the heads of governments of the Visegrad Group, also known as the “Visegrad Four” or “V4” — Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo and Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico. He had met the previous day with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who arranged the visit of the V4 country heads.
In remarks following the meeting, Netanyahu invited the four prime ministers to visit Jerusalem, stating “Next year in Jerusalem.” The leaders all accepted Netanyahu’s invitation.
“If Europe does not cooperate with Israel, then Europe punishes herself,” Orban said after the V4 meeting.