Hungary's hard-line PM Orban visits Israel amid criticism

EU Starts Legal Action Against Hungary for 'Stop Soros' Migrant Law

At a joint press conference, however, Netanyahu defended Orban, describing him as "a true friend of Israel".

Mr Orban's praise of war-time leader and Hitler ally Miklos Horthy as "an exceptional statesman" for rebuilding Hungary after World War I has ignited criticism among Israelis.

Netanyahu made his remarks before the leaders met Thursday in Jerusalem on the second day of Orban's two-day visit.

Meanwhile, dozens of protesters demonstrated at Yad Vashem during Orban's visit with his wife to Israel's Holocaust memorial.

Veronika Cohen, a Hungarian Holocaust survivor, held a sign reading "never again".

"I know what you are doing against anti-Semitism".

"You have stood up for Israel time and time again in worldwide forums", Netanyahu said. It could endanger Europe. "It could endanger Europe, it could endanger the world, it certainly endangers us and our Arab neighbours".

Orban has cast himself as champion of a Christian Europe and adopted an aggressive stance to halt the flow of African and Muslim migrants through Hungary. Orban, re-elected earlier this year, has been at the forefront of keeping migrants from war zones such as Syria out of Europe since the crisis became particularly acute in 2015.

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But Netanyahu say the two leaders are on the same wave length.

On Thursday, Orban will meet with Foreign Ministry Director General Yuval Rotem before beginning the official schedule of his trip, which will start with a meeting with Netanyahu at the Prime Minister's Office.

Netanyahu has brushed aside those concerns as he seeks closer ties with European nations willing to provide strong backing to Israel.

The United Nations, the Council of Europe and other worldwide bodies also have been highly critical of Hungary's anti-migration rules, comments which Orban's government usually dismisses as biased and unfounded. Critics of the compromise with Poland contend Netanyahu appeared to capitulate to the claim that Poles were only victims of the Nazis.

The government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, seen as the most right-wing in the country's history, pushed hard for the law which defines Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people.

Lapid and fellow opposition politician Tamar Zandberg, head of the Meretz party, called for a boycott of Orban's visit. On Friday he is scheduled to visit the Western Wall in Jerusalem before returning to Hungary.

The trip is a striking sign of burgeoning ties between Netanyahu and the controversial Hungarian statesman, who has been accused of playing up anti-Semitic stereotypes, and comes following reports of Israeli efforts to lobby the USA to end isolation of the man considered a symbol of Europe's move toward the hard right.

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