Stones Thrown at Budapest Seder
Home of Chabad rabbi in Budapest stoned.
Tuesday during the second Passover Seder, the home of the Chabad emissary in Budapest, Rabbi Shmuel Raskin, was stoned twice. The Jewish Agency’s emissary for Central Europe, Eran Elbar who was present at the Seder told the media that rocks struck the house around 11 p.m. 50 guests were attending the Seder.
Police were called but when they arrived at the scene their nonchalance to the incident was unsettling. After the police’s departure the house was stoned a second time breaking a widow above Raskin’s head. Elbar told Israel Radio that the Seder continued nonetheless.
The Rabbi’s house is on the same street as Budapest’s Great Synagogue and according to Elbar the police demeaned the stone throwing, seeming indifferent towards the situation. Elbar continued to say that Hungary’s Jewish population was troubled by the unsettling incident but has assumed a low profile due to the upcoming April elections in Hungary for fear of an inflammation of anti-Jewish sentiment. Even though no one was hurt during the episode, Elbar told the press “There is a sense that Jews need to lower their heads in light of strengthening of the extreme Right that could make headway in the upcoming elections.” According to Elbar the streets of the capital city are littered with pamphlets advertising a party who is specifically anti-Semitic.
Another guest of the Seder, a photographer working in Hungary spoke to Ynet saying luckily the Rabbi installed a double window for extra installation against the bitter Hungarian cold and that was what protected him from harm. The photographer further commented on the police’s indifference to the stone throwing saying “They told us, ‘We’re not going to go knocking on all the doors now to find who threw a stone at you.’ I understood they were not going to do anything, so I ordered the security from the embassy to the site.”
A 2009 report released by a European Union agency says anti-Semitism is on the rise in countries like Hungary and Austria, especially in big cities like Vienna and Budapest where there are larger Jewish communities. Extremist groups have been using media outlets like the Internet to target youth to invite them to be part of their neo-Nazi parties. Posters for a far-right party who are running in the upcoming April elections in Budapest even show Hitler’s picture on them and feature slogans that promote hate.