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Hungary Plans Synagogue Amid Rise of Anti-Semitic ‘Jewish List’ Jobbik Party

The Jewish community of Budapest has announced plans to build a new synagogue for the first time in 80 years.

The foundation stone for the new synagogue in Budapest’s Csepel district is scheduled to be laid in a ceremony on Sunday, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, attended by leaders of Hungary’s Jewish community and senior government officials.

“It attests as to the vitality of the Jewish community,” read an announcement about the event, on the website of the Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities, or Mazsihisz – a body representing many of the organizations that belong to Hungary’s Jewish community of approximately 90,000.

The land for the new synagogue was donated by the municipality, the Federation said, and construction costs were mostly raised by the Jewish community of the Hungarian capital’s South Pest district, BZSH. Construction is expected to end before November 2014.

Among the people set to officialte at the ceremony is Andras Kerenyi, the president of that community, who in October was physically assaulted by two men who hurled anti-Semitic insults at him as they beat him. He managed to follow them after they ran away, which led to their arrest.

“There are worrying trends in Hungary as represented by the anti-Semitic Jobbik party, but at the same time there is a vibrant Jewish community and much attentiveness to their needs and welfare on the part of many in government,” said Joel Rubinfeld, co-chair of the European Jewish Parliament, who returned last week to Belgium from a round of talks with Hungarian officials on curbing anti-Semitism there.

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