Hungary

Introduction:

Israel and Hungary maintain close economic and military relations. Hungary acquired a number of significant arms, including anti-aircraft systems, artillery, drones and cyber technologies. 

Israel - Hungary Relations:

Since 2010 Hungary’s Prime Minister Orban has built alliances with Israel, especially former Prime Minister Netanyahu.[1] In 2017 Netanyahu made an official visit to Hungary and met Orban. He participated in an economic forum alongside with a delegation of dozens of Israeli companies. After his visit in Hungary he took part in a summit of the four-country Visegrad group made up of Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.[2] The V4 states’ officials have re­peatedly expressed interest in Israeli secu­rity technologies, the purchase of Israeli weapons and equipment, as well as in train­ings with the Israeli military.[3]

In 2019 prime minister Orban visited Israel and met Netanyahu. Orban and the leaders of Slovakia and the Czech Republic arrived in Jerusalem, holding brief individual bilateral meetings with Netanyahu, as well as one joint meeting.[4]

Israel’s export stood on $125m in 2020 with the main export sectors being Electrical Machinery, Pharmaceutical Products, Organic Chemicals and Mechanic equipment according to the Israel Export Institute.[5]

Signed agreements:

2006: agreement on economic cooperation, specifically in water, environmental, R&D, and venture capital sectors.[6] 

2014: Hungary and Israel signed a scientific cooperation agreement. It appears primarily focused on academic and cultural exchanges and cooperation.[7]

2021: agreement regarding cooperation in laser and artificial technologies (including research into drones).[8]

2021: Hungary announced in 2021 that it will build 1000 mobile tactical shelters for Israel to defend itself against rocket strikes.[9]

Military relations:

In 2017 Hungary announced a comprehensive program to modernize and expand its military industry, both in support of its own forces, to develop weapons for export [10] and to reach the 2% of GDP military expenditures required by NATO. [11] This involves partnerships or deals with several different countries, including Israel.  

In 2010 two Gulfstream Intelligence airplanes of the Israeli Air Force conducted a low-level pass over Budapest. It is not clear what was their mission and if they were involved in the killing of an Hungarian-Syrian citizen in Budapest.[12]

In 2015 a meeting between Hungarian and Israeli governmental and academic officials were conducted at the National University of Public Service (NUPS) in Budapest, Hungary. The purpose of the meeting was to strengthen relations between Hungary and Israel in research, policy and security issues. The sponsor of the conference was Israeli Ambassador to Hungary. Management from Galilee International Management Institute participated in the meeting.[13]

In 2020 Hungary aqcuired MMR anti-aircraft and artillery radars ordered by the Israeli company ELTA [14] and showed interest in purchasing also Hermes drones.[15]

In July 2021 it was reported that Hungary aqcuired SPIKE missiles for infantry combat vehicles.[16] A statement by the Hungarian defense procurement agency said that during a visit by a Hungarian defense delegation to Israel in July 2021, Gáspár Maróth, the Hungarian government’s commissioner for defense, and Zvi Marmor, head of the Precision Tactical Weapons Systems Division of Rafael, signed an agreement for the supply of Spike missiles for 220 Lynx KF41 APCs, which the Hungarian government purchased from the German company Rheinmetall in 2020 for $2.38 billion.[17]

During the visit to Israel, the Hungarian delegation also visited the Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) plant of Israel Aerospace Industries, the ELTA plant that manufactures Iron Dome radars, and Elbit.[18]

Joint Training:

On August 27, 2020, the Israeli Air Force, German Air Force and the Hungarian Air Force completed a joint excersice in Germany. Hungary piloted the Gripen aircraft (JAS-39).[19]

Cyber:

In the beginning of the 2000s Israel and Hungary began organizing joint IT/Cyber-forums. In the second Forum, that was organized in Budapest in participation of Hungary’s minister of communication and minister of Economy, many Israeli tech-companies participated, including IAI.[20]

In 2017 IAI invested in the Hungarian company Cytrox, which provides governments with an operational cyber solution for design, management and implementation of cyber intelligence as well as innovative engines for gathering intelligence from end devices and cloud services. IAI’s investments will be carried out by IAI’s Cyber Division, with the goal of expanding IAI’s cyber R&D and its global footprint in this field.[21]

In 2018 Budapest Police acquired Cellebrite’s UFED devices.[22] In 2019 another contract for UFED devices were made by Budapest Police.[23]

Pegasus (NSO Group):

A lawmaker from Hungary’s ruling party has acknowledged in November 2021 that the Interior Ministry bought and used Pegasus spy software.[24]

In July 2021 the Pegasus project, a collaborative investigation run by the French nonprofit journalism organisation Forbidden Stories, has reviewed leaked records that suggest a wide range of people in Hungary were selected as potential targets before a possible hacking attempt with the Pegasus spyware, sold by the Israeli company NSO Group. In a number of cases, forensic analysis confirmed devices had been infected with Pegasus. The records also include the numbers of at least 10 lawyers, an opposition politician and at least five journalists.[25] In January 2022 it was reported that the Hungarian government has allegedly hired a Washington DC lobbyist who is linked to Israeli company NSO Group to prepare for potential US sanctions.[26]

The Hungarian Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the Hungarian government and the NSO Group in Hungary, Israel and in the EU in January 2022.[27]

Usage of Israeli Arms:

Skylark (Pacsirta) – In usage since 2009 by Hungarian Defense Forces. In 2014 the army reported that many deployments have already taken place. According to the source it was used in Afghanistan in many occasions.[28] Installation and training took place at the Hajdúhadház training base in Debrecen, Hungary. The Hungarian Armed Forces has also ordered training from the Israeli company Elbit.[29]

Litening Pod – In usage on Saab JAS 39C Gripens fighter jets, Hungarian Air Force (HuAF).[30]

Pegasus – Hungarian Interior Ministry bought and used Pegasus spy software.[31]

Human Rights Violations:

Hungary’s government used the Covid-19 pandemic as a pretext to continue its attacks on rule of law and democratic institutions. The government declared a state of emergency in March, seizing unlimited power to rule by decree without parliamentary and judicial review. Before the state of emergency was revoked in mid-June 2020, the government had issued hundreds of decrees, including on issues unrelated to public health. The government made access to asylum close to impossible, interfered with independent media and academia, launched an assault on members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community, and undermined women’s rights. Hungary’s Roma minority continue to face widespread and systemic discrimination.[32]

In its Rule of Law report released in October, the European Union Commission raised concerns about the lack of independence of the judiciary, intimidation of independent media, and the impact of the weakening of independent institutions and pressures on civil society on democratic checks and balances.[33]

In June 2020, new rules introduced severely limited access to asylum. Transitional measures, denounced by UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, removed the possibility for asylum-seekers to submit applications inside Hungary, instead requiring them to first submit a “declaration of intent” at selected embassies outside the country.[34]

Asylum seekers entering, mostly from Serbia, were expelled, often collectively. By the end of 2020, police pushbacks across the border fence exceeded 30,000, in breach of the obligation to individually assess the risk of refoulement, the forcible return of individuals to countries where they risk serious human rights violations. In December, the CJEU ruled that such returns breached EU law.[35]

At the end of 2015, Hungary established two transit zones near the fence along the Serbian border. Here, refugees were able to apply for asylum. However, in recent years, the conditions for staying there had become more and more restrictive. Couples and families were separated; only babies were allowed to stay with their mothers. The accommodation was extremely cramped, and resembled the high-security wing of a prison. Finally, refugees were also hardly being given any food.[36]

In 2017 Hungary began building a fence on its border with Serbia, capable of delivering electric shocks to unwanted migrants and armed with heat sensors, cameras, and loudspeakers that blare in several languages.[37]

Hungary’s investment in migration-management technology is shielded from public scrutiny by a 2017 legal amendment but its lack of transparency and practice of pushing migrants back have been criticised by other EU nations and the European court of justice, leading to Frontex suspending operations in Hungary in January.[38]

Viktor Orban, Prime Minister since 2010, has been accused of encouraging far right activity in general and anti-Semitism in particular, and has increasingly aligned himself with what has been called “illiberal pseudo-democracies led by ‘elected authoritarians’”[39]

Sales Records Table:

Product Company year deal size comments source
5 Litening electro optical systems Rafael 2005 (2008) for Gripen Combat Aircraft Sipri
9 Skylark I-LE drones Elbit 2009 for reconassaince missions http://web.archive.org/web/20090726123233/http://www.honvedelem.hu/cikk/0/15820/hajduhadhaz_pilota_nelkuli_repulogep.html
EL/M-2084 air search radar system IAI 2020 (2022-2027) manufactured by IAI's Canadian product line Sipri
Pegasus Spyware NSO Group ~2018 https://www.theguardian.com/news/2021/jul/18/viktor-orban-using-nso-spyware-in-assault-on-media-data-suggests; https://balkaninsight.com/2021/07/19/orban-government-remains-silent-about-hungarys-watergate/

1. ^ https://www.thefreelibrary.com/Netanyahu%2C+Orban%2C+and+the+Resurgence+of+Antisemitism%3A+Lessons+of+the…-a0597005435

2. ^ https://mfa.gov.il/MFA/PressRoom/2017/Pages/Israel-Visegrad-Group-Joint-Statement.aspx

3. ^ https://www.swp-berlin.org/en/publication/the-visegrad-groups-policy-towards-israel

4. ^ https://www.timesofisrael.com/hungary-to-open-office-with-diplomatic-status-in-jerusalem/

5. ^ https://www.export.gov.il/api//Media/Default/Files/Economy/Snapshots_2019/Hungary.pdf

6. ^ https://www.bilaterals.org/?israel-hungary-sign-economic

7. ^ https://www.israel365news.com/25341/hungary-israel-forging-scientific-cooperation/; https://www.Jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/hungary-and-israel-forging-scientific-cooperation/2014/12/04/ 

8. ^ https://dailynewshungary.com/hungary-and-israel-to-cooperate-in-ai-and-laser-technology/ ; https://cio.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/corporate-news/israel-hungary-sign-cooperation-agreement-in-science-technology/87618331

9. ^ https://hungarytoday.hu/szijjarto-hungary-build-mobile-tactical-shelters-missiles-israel/ ; https://www.worthynews.com/58997-hungary-to-build-israels-new-anti-rocket-shelters

10. ^ https://www.overtdefense.com/2020/04/03/modernization-and-rearmament-hungarys-zrinyi-2026-program/

11. ^ https://hungarytoday.hu/hungary-is-significantly-improving-its-military/

12. ^ https://www.reuters.com/article/us-hungary-israeli-planes-idUSTRE62I21C20100319

13. ^ https://www.galilcol.ac.il/News/4808/GIMI_Cooperation_with_the_Government_of_Hungary

14. ^ https://www.edrmagazine.eu/rheinmetall-and-iai-elta-to-supply-hungary

15. ^ https://magyarnemzet.hu/belfold/2021/01/izraeli-raketakat-es-robotrepuloket-rendszeresithet-a-honvedseg

16. ^ https://www.israeldefense.co.il/en/node/50957#:~:text=A%20statement%20by%20the%20Hungarian,signed%20an%20agreement%20for%20the

17. ^ https://www.israeldefense.co.il/en/node/50957#:~:text=A%20statement%20by%20the%20Hungarian,signed%20an%20agreement%20for%20the

18. ^ https://www.israeldefense.co.il/en/node/50957#:~:text=A%20statement%20by%20the%20Hungarian,signed%20an%20agreement%20for%20the

19. ^ https://www.idf.il/en/minisites/military-cooperation/iaf-completes-historic-joint-exercise/ ; https://www.ynetnews.com/article/SyNXcV3GP

20. ^ https://www.port2port.co.il/article/%D7%AA%D7%A2%D7%A9%D7%99%D7%94-%D7%95%D7%A1%D7%97%D7%A8/%D7%94%D7%A1%D7%AA%D7%99%D7%99%D7%9D-%D7%A4%D7%95%D7%A8%D7%95%D7%9D-%D7%94%D7%99%D7%99-%D7%98%D7%A7-%D7%99%D7%A9%D7%A8%D7%90%D7%9C-%D7%94%D7%95%D7%A0%D7%92%D7%A8%D7%99%D7%94/

21. ^ https://www.iai.co.il/iai-invests-two-cyber-companies-holland-and-hungary ; http://web.archive.org/web/20220302080137/https://www.iai.co.il/iai-invests-two-cyber-companies-holland-and-hungary

22. ^ https://ted.europa.eu/udl?uri=TED:NOTICE:402814-2018:TEXT:EN:HTML&src=0 ; http://web.archive.org/web/20220302080406/https://ted.europa.eu/udl?uri=TED%3ANOTICE%3A402814-2018%3ATEXT%3AEN%3AHTML&src=0

23. ^ https://ted.europa.eu/udl?uri=TED:NOTICE:237063-2019:TEXT:EN:HTML&src=0 ; http://web.archive.org/web/20220302080258/https://ted.europa.eu/udl?uri=TED%3ANOTICE%3A237063-2019%3ATEXT%3AEN%3AHTML&src=0

24. ^ https://www.dw.com/en/hungary-admits-to-using-nso-groups-pegasus-spyware/a-59726217

25. ^ https://www.theguardian.com/news/2021/jul/18/viktor-orban-using-nso-spyware-in-assault-on-media-data-suggests

26. ^ https://www.euractiv.com/section/politics/short_news/hungary-hires-ex-pegasus-spyware-lobbyist/

27. ^ https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/tech-news/.premium-i-was-in-touch-with-likud-israelis-pegasus-victims-fight-hungary-nso-1.10577062

28. ^ https://honvedelem.hu/hatter/haditechnika/hangtalan-pacsirta.html (http://web.archive.org/web/20220302080546/https://honvedelem.hu/hatter/haditechnika/hangtalan-pacsirta.html)

29. ^ http://web.archive.org/web/20090726123233/http://www.honvedelem.hu/cikk/0/15820/hajduhadhaz_pilota_nelkuli_repulogep.html

30. ^ https://www.janes.com/defence-news/news-detail/hungarian-gripens-showcase-new-capabilities-in-nato-baltic-air-policing-mission  (http://web.archive.org/web/20220302081021/https://www.janes.com/defence-news/news-detail/hungarian-gripens-showcase-new-capabilities-in-nato-baltic-air-policing-mission )

31. ^ https://www.dw.com/en/hungary-admits-to-using-nso-groups-pegasus-spyware/a-59726217

32. ^ https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2021/country-chapters/hungary

33. ^ https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2021/country-chapters/hungary

34. ^ https://www.amnesty.org/en/location/europe-and-central-asia/hungary/report-hungary/#:~:text=In%20July%2C%20the%20European%20Court,recognize%20his%20gender%20and%20name

35. ^ https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2021/country-chapters/hungary

36. ^ https://www.infomigrants.net/en/post/30148/how-hungary-is-violating-eu-law-on-refugees

37. ^ https://www.reuters.com/article/us-europe-migrants-hungary-fence-idUSKBN1692MH

38. ^ https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2021/mar/26/eu-borders-migrants-hitech-surveillance-asylum-seekers

39. ^ https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-israel-needs-to-step-away-from-the-trump-orban-bolsonaro-illiberal-alliance-1.10314879

40. ^

Hungary

Israel and Hungary maintain close economic and military relations. Hungary acquired a number of significant arms, including anti-aircraft systems, artillery, drones and cyber technologies. 

Since 2010 Hungary’s Prime Minister Orban has built alliances with Israel, especially former Prime Minister Netanyahu.[1] 

In 2017 Netanyahu made an official visit to Hungary and met Orban. He participated in an economic forum alongside with a delegation of dozens of Israeli companies. After his visit in Hungary he took part in a summit of the four-country Visegrad group made up of Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.[2] The V4 states’ officials have re­peatedly expressed interest in Israeli secu­rity technologies, the purchase of Israeli weapons and equipment, as well as in train­ings with the Israeli military.[3]

In 2019 prime minister Orban visited Israel and met Netanyahu. Orban and the leaders of Slovakia and the Czech Republic arrived in Jerusalem, holding brief individual bilateral meetings with Netanyahu, as well as one joint meeting.[4]

Israel’s export stood on $125m in 2020 with the main export sectors being Electrical Machinery, Pharmaceutical Products, Organic Chemicals and Mechanic equipment according to the Israel Export Institute.[5]

Signed agreements:

2006: agreement on economic cooperation, specifically in water, environmental, R&D, and venture capital sectors.[6] 

2014: Hungary and Israel signed a scientific cooperation agreement. It appears primarily focused on academic and cultural exchanges and cooperation.[7]

2021: agreement regarding cooperation in laser and artificial technologies (including research into drones).[8]

2021: Hungary announced in 2021 that it will build 1000 mobile tactical shelters for Israel to defend itself against rocket strikes.[9]

In 2017 Hungary announced a comprehensive program to modernize and expand its military industry, both in support of its own forces, to develop weapons for export [10] and to reach the 2% of GDP military expenditures required by NATO. [11] This involves partnerships or deals with several different countries, including Israel.  

In 2010 two Gulfstream Intelligence airplanes of the Israeli Air Force conducted a low-level pass over Budapest. It is not clear what was their mission and if they were involved in the killing of an Hungarian-Syrian citizen in Budapest.[12]

In 2015 a meeting between Hungarian and Israeli governmental and academic officials were conducted at the National University of Public Service (NUPS) in Budapest, Hungary. The purpose of the meeting was to strengthen relations between Hungary and Israel in research, policy and security issues. The sponsor of the conference was Israeli Ambassador to Hungary. Management from Galilee International Management Institute participated in the meeting.[13]

In 2020 Hungary aqcuired MMR anti-aircraft and artillery radars ordered by the Israeli company ELTA [14] and showed interest in purchasing also Hermes drones.[15]

In July 2021 it was reported that Hungary aqcuired SPIKE missiles for infantry combat vehicles.[16] A statement by the Hungarian defense procurement agency said that during a visit by a Hungarian defense delegation to Israel in July 2021, Gáspár Maróth, the Hungarian government’s commissioner for defense, and Zvi Marmor, head of the Precision Tactical Weapons Systems Division of Rafael, signed an agreement for the supply of Spike missiles for 220 Lynx KF41 APCs, which the Hungarian government purchased from the German company Rheinmetall in 2020 for $2.38 billion.[17]

During the visit to Israel, the Hungarian delegation also visited the Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) plant of Israel Aerospace Industries, the ELTA plant that manufactures Iron Dome radars, and Elbit.[18]

Joint Training:

On August 27, 2020, the Israeli Air Force, German Air Force and the Hungarian Air Force completed a joint excersice in Germany. Hungary piloted the Gripen aircraft (JAS-39).[19]

Cyber:

In the beginning of the 2000s Israel and Hungary began organizing joint IT/Cyber-forums. In the second Forum, that was organized in Budapest in participation of Hungary’s minister of communication and minister of Economy, many Israeli tech-companies participated, including IAI.[20]

In 2017 IAI invested in the Hungarian company Cytrox, which provides governments with an operational cyber solution for design, management and implementation of cyber intelligence as well as innovative engines for gathering intelligence from end devices and cloud services. IAI’s investments will be carried out by IAI’s Cyber Division, with the goal of expanding IAI’s cyber R&D and its global footprint in this field.[21]

In 2018 Budapest Police acquired Cellebrite’s UFED devices.[22] In 2019 another contract for UFED devices were made by Budapest Police.[23]

Pegasus (NSO Group):

A lawmaker from Hungary’s ruling party has acknowledged in November 2021 that the Interior Ministry bought and used Pegasus spy software.[24]

In July 2021 the Pegasus project, a collaborative investigation run by the French nonprofit journalism organisation Forbidden Stories, has reviewed leaked records that suggest a wide range of people in Hungary were selected as potential targets before a possible hacking attempt with the Pegasus spyware, sold by the Israeli company NSO Group. In a number of cases, forensic analysis confirmed devices had been infected with Pegasus. The records also include the numbers of at least 10 lawyers, an opposition politician and at least five journalists.[25] In January 2022 it was reported that the Hungarian government has allegedly hired a Washington DC lobbyist who is linked to Israeli company NSO Group to prepare for potential US sanctions.[26]

The Hungarian Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the Hungarian government and the NSO Group in Hungary, Israel and in the EU in January 2022.[27]

Skylark (Pacsirta) – In usage since 2009 by Hungarian Defense Forces. In 2014 the army reported that many deployments have already taken place. According to the source it was used in Afghanistan in many occasions.[28] Installation and training took place at the Hajdúhadház training base in Debrecen, Hungary. The Hungarian Armed Forces has also ordered training from the Israeli company Elbit.[29]

Litening Pod – In usage on Saab JAS 39C Gripens fighter jets, Hungarian Air Force (HuAF).[30]

Pegasus – Hungarian Interior Ministry bought and used Pegasus spy software.[31]

Hungary’s government used the Covid-19 pandemic as a pretext to continue its attacks on rule of law and democratic institutions. The government declared a state of emergency in March, seizing unlimited power to rule by decree without parliamentary and judicial review. Before the state of emergency was revoked in mid-June 2020, the government had issued hundreds of decrees, including on issues unrelated to public health. The government made access to asylum close to impossible, interfered with independent media and academia, launched an assault on members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community, and undermined women’s rights. Hungary’s Roma minority continue to face widespread and systemic discrimination.[32]

In its Rule of Law report released in October, the European Union Commission raised concerns about the lack of independence of the judiciary, intimidation of independent media, and the impact of the weakening of independent institutions and pressures on civil society on democratic checks and balances.[33]

In June 2020, new rules introduced severely limited access to asylum. Transitional measures, denounced by UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, removed the possibility for asylum-seekers to submit applications inside Hungary, instead requiring them to first submit a “declaration of intent” at selected embassies outside the country.[34]

Asylum seekers entering, mostly from Serbia, were expelled, often collectively. By the end of 2020, police pushbacks across the border fence exceeded 30,000, in breach of the obligation to individually assess the risk of refoulement, the forcible return of individuals to countries where they risk serious human rights violations. In December, the CJEU ruled that such returns breached EU law.[35]

At the end of 2015, Hungary established two transit zones near the fence along the Serbian border. Here, refugees were able to apply for asylum. However, in recent years, the conditions for staying there had become more and more restrictive. Couples and families were separated; only babies were allowed to stay with their mothers. The accommodation was extremely cramped, and resembled the high-security wing of a prison. Finally, refugees were also hardly being given any food.[36]

In 2017 Hungary began building a fence on its border with Serbia, capable of delivering electric shocks to unwanted migrants and armed with heat sensors, cameras, and loudspeakers that blare in several languages.[37]

Hungary’s investment in migration-management technology is shielded from public scrutiny by a 2017 legal amendment but its lack of transparency and practice of pushing migrants back have been criticised by other EU nations and the European court of justice, leading to Frontex suspending operations in Hungary in January.[38]

Viktor Orban, Prime Minister since 2010, has been accused of encouraging far right activity in general and anti-Semitism in particular, and has increasingly aligned himself with what has been called “illiberal pseudo-democracies led by ‘elected authoritarians’”[39]

Download as XLS or PDF or view the Google-Doc

Product
Company
Year
Deal Size
Comments
Source
2 Aerostar drones
2003 (2004)
Sipri
night vision equipment
Troya Tech Defense
2015
$52.5thousand
inclduing night vision goggles and infrared thermal imaging devices
https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-israeli-night-vision-gear-reached-ivory-coast-despite-embargo-1.5440131