Hungary’s small Orthodox Jewish community is accusing the Chabad-affiliated Association of Hungarian Jewish Communities (EMIH) of attempting a “hostile takeover” of their community. A long-standing dispute between the two communities, as outlined by the Autonomous Orthodox Jewish Community of Hungary (MAOIH), centers around budgets and prime central real estate in Budapest, worth a . MAOIH has claimed that a group of new members infiltrated their community about a year ago, organized by the Chabad-affiliated rival community, in a move that violated the community’s bylaw.
According to MAOIH, the legal-political battle between the “old, legitimate community” and what they see as the “Chabad-affiliated intruders” has reached a critical phase. The conflict escalated after a delegation of Chabad representatives and Hungarian government officials met with rabbis and politicians in Israel. The Eda Haredit Rabbinic Court of Jerusalem issued a statement to the heads of the two communities, which objected to the meeting that was called to elect a community leader and new board members. They even imposed a restraining order and foreclosure on several members who “call themselves the heads of the board” of the Orthodox community and all new members who wanted to replace the previous management of the community.
Although EMIH denies any involvement in recent events, they are affiliated with the Chabad movement and have a long history of working closely with the Hungarian government. The Chabad movement has been operating in Hungary since 1989, and Köves, its president, was the first rabbi to be ordained in Hungary since the Holocaust. EMIH has a wide range of Jewish institutions in Hungary, including synagogues, schools, kosher slaughterhouses, and restaurants. They claim that recent events have nothing to do with them and that external parties are stirring up trouble and spreading false accusations against them.
The World Jewish Congress estimates that the Hungarian Jewish community, the largest in East Central Europe, has between 75,000 and 100,000 members. The Federation of the Hungarian Jewish Communities (MAZSIHISZ) represents Neolog Judaism, a progressive stream that used to be popular in the region. In 2011, the Hungarian government acknowledged the Orthodox stream of Judaism as a representative. It seems that the Orthodox community in Hungary is under threat from the powerful and well-connected Chabad-affiliated EMIH, who are determined to gain control of the valuable assets of the small Hungarian Jewish community.
Who’s attempting a ‘hostile takeover’ of Hungarian Orthodox jewry? The Jerusalem Post | JPost.com. (n.d.). https://www.jpost.com/diaspora/article-732769