According to the exclusive reporting by The Jerusalem Post, two European countries, Germany and Hungary have issued citizenship and passports to Israeli hostages abducted by Hamas. Some of those have since been exchanged for convicted Palestinian terrorists, while others are still held captive in Gaza. All those with any relatives born in one of the said countries were eligible for citizenship.
The Post also speculated that this may help with the hostage negotiations, as now these countries have leverage to intervene to rescue their own citizens from Hamas. In addition, the Wiesenthal Center, a Holocaust research centre based in Vienna, Austria, claims to know that Hamas ‘will deal separately with Israelis who have joint citizenships’.
The Jerusalem Post has also recalled that there are 136 Israeli hostages still held by the Palestinian terror group.
During the October attacks, 240 people were taken hostage by Hamas from Israel. However, in late November, ceasefire negotiations led to the release of 50 Israeli captives, mostly women and children. Some of the hostages have since been killed or died from mistreatment and/or lack of medical attention. Even more tragically, some of them were shot dead by soldiers of the Israeli Defence Forces, who mistook them for Hamas militiamen while they were trying to escape.
What the Post did not uncover is how many of the 136 remaining hostages have been granted German and Hungarian citizenships. They have reached out to the Israeli, German, and Hungarian foreign ministries, but they have not received an answer from any of them yet.
The author of the news piece recalls that ‘American organizations,’ including the Middle East Media Research Institute and the Anti-Defamation League, called on Germany, Austria, and the United States to issue their respective citizenships to the hostages in late October—of which, only Germany heeded the call for help, while Hungary joined later.
The piece also recalls the case of Ahmadreza Djalali, a medical doctor who was arrested by the Ayatollah regime of Iran in 2016. He was convicted of espionage, and was facing certain execution. However, Sweden, the country where he used to give university lectures, stepped in and granted him citizenship—thus his life was spared.
Raoul Wallenberg is also mentioned in the article.
Wallenberg was the Swedish ambassador to Hungary during World War II who gave out ‘protective citizenships’ to Jewish people in Hungary so they could escape the Holocaust.
Hungary Stands With Israel
This is not the first time Hungary has taken a firm stance for Israel since the outbreak of the war.
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán of Hungary was among the very first world leaders to offer his public support to Isreal’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu on the day of the Hamas attacks, 7 October. Since then, President Katalin Novák of Hungary has also paid Israel a ‘solidarity visit’. Meanwhile, there is a refugee camp for Jewish-Israelis fleeing the war which operates in Balatonöszöd, Hungary.