Pope FrancisPope FrancisPope Francis challenges vaccine skeptics Pope on Biden communion debate: Bishops shouldn't 'go condemning' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by National Industries for the Blind - Biden's .5 trillion plan will likely have to shrink MORE on Sunday called for the end of antisemitism in Europe, contending that it is a “fuse that must not be allowed to burn.”
“I think of the threat of antisemitism still lurking in Europe and elsewhere,” Francis said during an ecumenical meeting in Budapest for other Christian and Jewish leaders, according to Reuters.
“This is a fuse that must not be allowed to burn. And the best way to defuse it is to work together, positively, and to promote fraternity,” he added.
Francis’s comments came during a brief trip to Hungary, a stop on his four-day visit to central Europe and his first large international trip since having intestinal surgery in July.
More than half a million Jewish people from Hungary were killed during the Holocaust, Reuters noted.
Hungary is currently home to the most Jewish residents in central Europe, with roughly 75,000 to 100,000 in the country, the news wire added, citing the World Jewish Congress, with the majority of them in Budapest.
A survey published in July by the think tank Media and commissioned by Mazsihisz, the Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities, concluded that one in five Hungarians was strongly antisemitic, with 16 percent saying they were moderately antisemitic, according to Reuters.
The survey also found that there were fewer antisemitic incidents in Hungary, such as vandalism and physical assault, compared to other countries in Europe.
The pope's visit to Hungary was unusually short, Reuters noted, which emphasizes differences he has with Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who is a nationalistic and anti-immigrant figure.
Orban came under fire several years ago when he used a photo of U.S. financier George Soros, who is Jewish, in a billboard used for an anti-immigration campaign, Reuters noted.
Orban, however, in May said that accusations of him being antisemitic were “ridiculous.” He has also said Hungary would show “zero tolerance” for antisemitism,” according to Reuters.
Francis's comments come months after the U.S. saw a startling spike in antisemitic attacks, many of which occurred as Israel and Hamas were engaged in their latest conflict in the Middle East.