Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Monday on while on a state visit to Israel. Netanyahu said that he would be boosting contacts with Vienna and praised the visiting chancellor while signaling a change in Jerusalem’s chilly policy toward the far-right coalition party with supposed Nazi ties, The Times of Israel reported.
Netanyahu called the Austrian leader “a true friend of Israel and the Jewish people,” with Kurz responding that he would “raise awareness” of Israel’s security needs among counterparts in Europe.
Kurz heads a government that includes the far-right Freedom Party, which Israel has boycotted due to its history as a haven for neo-Nazis as well as its current xenophobic policies.
Austrian Jews have eschewed and criticized Kurz’s party, known by its German acronym FPOe, saying that the FPOe had not sufficiently denounced its anti-Semitic past and that it still promotes problematic positions.
At a reception held at the Prime Minister’s Office, Netanyahu mentioned a speech Kurz gave earlier this year in which he acknowledged that Austrians were not only victims of Nazi Germany but also “perpetrators.”
Reported by: Virtual Jerusalem