01:32 GMT02 December 2020
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    The Israeli Foreign Ministry said in a statement that billionaire George Soros "continuously undermines Israel’s democratically elected governments."

    Tel Aviv clarified its position after the Israeli ambassador to Hungary urged Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his party to take down anti-Soros campaign posters as they allegedly cause "fear and hatred," referring to anti-Semitism.

    "No gain can come from such a campaign recalling the historic lesson," Israeli envoy Yossi Amrani said earlier.

    "Israel deplores any expression of anti-Semitism in any country and stands with Jewish communities everywhere in confronting this hatred," the Israeli Foreign Ministry's spokesperson, Emmanuel Nahshon, said in a statement, commenting on the ambassador's criticism.

    However, the ministry harshly criticized George Soros himself echoing the statements by Hungarian officials.

    "In no way was the statement meant to delegitimize criticism of George Soros, who continuously undermines Israel’s democratically elected governments by funding organizations that defame the Jewish state and seek to deny it the right to defend itself," the foreign ministry said.

    Hungarian-born US magnate and philanthropist George Soros attends an economic forum in Colombo on January 7, 2016
    Orban, as well as several other politicians from his Fidesz party, have repeatedly criticized both Soros as well as the institutions supported by the billionaire, such as the Central European University (CEU). The CEU is a university located in Budapest and accredited in the United States. However, the educational institution does not provide educational services in the country of its registration and there is no legally binding bilateral agreement between Budapest and Washington, as required by the new Hungarian legislation.

    In March, the Hungarian government proposed amendments to the national law on higher education. On April 10, Hungarian President Janos Ader signed the amendments that could result in closure of the CEU. The move has resulted in mass protests in Budapest, solidarity actions in other states, as well as a number of critical statements made by EU officials.

    The university opposed the decision of Ader to sign the amendments, adding that it continued to "pursue all available legal remedies." The CEU also called on the Hungarian authorities to find a way that would allow the university to stay in Budapest without violating the country's laws. However, Orban said there's no threat of university's closure.


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