Hungarian Ambassador to Belgium Tamás Iván Kovács inaugurated a new consulate in Antwerp on Thursday and appointed a Charedi man as the Honorary Consul.
Ari Epstein, who serves as the CEO of the Antwerp World Diamond Center,
will serve as the Consul in the Flanders region, advancing economic and cultural ties between Hungary and Belgium.
There is a large population of chassidic Jews in Antwerp and over 50% of them have Hungarian roots. One of the first steps that Mr. Epstein took was to launch the World Institute for Hungarian Jews inside the new consulate. The institute will advance ties between the Jewish communities in Antwerp and Hungary. A new book written by Rav Aryeh Tessler on the connection between the Jewish communities in the two countries was introduced at the ceremony.
“Our hope is that the book will contribute to the knowledge of Antwerp’s Jewish community’s Hungarian roots and help revive the connection with the past in the present,” Epstein said. “Hungary has been a home for Jews for over a thousand years and Jews have constituted about 5% of the Hungarian population since the beginning of the 20th century.”
Belgian politicians and representatives of the Jewish community in Antwerp participated in the event, including Jewish MP Michael Freilich, a frum member of Belgian Parliament, and Israel’s Ambassador to Belgium Emmanuel Nachshon.
Very exciting. @EpsteinAri CEO of the Antwerp Diamond Center, appointed Honorary Consul of Hungary. Member of Parliament @MichaelFreilich "Ari makes us all proud". Including the Israeli Ambassador to Belgium @EmmanuelNahshon. And the ambassador of Hungary @tamasivankovacs pic.twitter.com/Rn0uvH0nOr
— יענקי פרבר | Yanki Farber (@yankihebrew) October 14, 2021
I had the great honour to participate in the inauguration ceremony of the Honorary Consulate of Hungary in Antwerp, with Federal Interior Minister @AnneliesVl , my friend Ambassador @tamasivankovacs and my friend @EpsteinAri to whom I wish success in his new functions 🇭🇺 🇧🇪 ! pic.twitter.com/WGZD2801sD
— Emmanuel Nahshon (@EmmanuelNahshon) October 14, 2021
איש החסד הבלגי אלי רבר, שרת הפנים הבלגית והשגריר ההונגרי בבריסל בטקס הכרתו של אריה אפשטיין לקונסול ההונגרי בבלגיה. pic.twitter.com/j4WjWbgKUO
— ישראל כהן (@Israelcohen911) October 15, 2021
A VERY important milestone in #Hungarian–#Belgian/#Flemish relations: officially opening our new Hon. Consulate in #Antwerp with HC @EpsteinAri of @AWDC, Minister @AnneliesVl, @BelgiumMFA @BelgiumDGB @jeroencooreman, @EmmanuelNahshon of @IsraelinBelgium & MANY friends! ⚫️🟡🇧🇪🇭🇺 pic.twitter.com/ImTgqgMOJL
— Amb. Tamás Iván KOVÁCS 🇭🇺 (@tamasivankovacs) October 15, 2021
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)