Europe should guarantee freedom of religion and should stand up for Jewish-Christian heritage
06. 01. 2021.
In a message sent to Chairman of the Jewish Agency Isaac Herzog in Jerusalem, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán described the December decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union upholding the ban on kosher slaughter as an attack on freedom of religion, Jewish-Christian heritage and Jewish communities living in Europe, Bertalan Havasi, the head of the Press Office of the Prime Minister informed the Hungarian news agency MTI on Tuesday.

Prior to the Prime Minister’s message, on 31 December, the head of the Agency contacted Mr Orbán in a letter, drawing his attention to this topic which is especially important for Jewish communities in Europe. In his reply, Mr Orbán said in the past ten years his government has made every effort to guarantee the safety and welfare of the Jewish community in Hungary. “Thanks to our efforts, we have experienced a renaissance of Jewish life and Jewish culture in Hungary, hallmarked by remarkable events such as the Maccabiah Games and the Jewish Cultural Festival held annually,” he wrote.

According to Mr Orbán, in light of these developments, the ruling recently adopted by the Court of Justice of the European Union which enabled Member States to uphold a ban on kosher slaughter was deeply disappointing. “I believe that this decision is an attack not only on freedom of religion, but is equally an attack on our Jewish-Christian heritage and Jewish communities living in Europe. Consequently, my government swiftly condemned this harmful decision, and we will make every effort to speak out against it at every possible international forum,” Mr Orbán wrote. He added that he believes in a Europe which not only guarantees freedom of religion, but also proudly stands up for Jewish-Christian heritage, traditions and values which our countries and societies are based upon.

On 17 December, the Court of Justice of the European Union adopted a decision upholding the ban on kosher ritual slaughter in Belgium.