A statue of Raoul Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat who rescued thousands of Jews from the Nazis in Hungary during World War II, was vandalized in Budapest on Tuesday, Army Radio reported.
A group of Conservative rabbis from New York reportedly visited the site and saw five bloody pig legs tied around the statue.
In a statement issued Wednesday, Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar said "the vandalizing of the statue of Raoul Wallenberg is an abominable attempt to defame the name of a person who saved tens of thousands of Jews from the Nazi extermination machine. This ugly anti-Semitic act is another painful reminder that anti-Semitism has not disappeared from the world."
"We must not allow anti-Semitism to raise its ugly head," the statement continued. "We must act determinedly against all incidents of anti-Semitism. We must not make the mistake of taking this lightly. These acts are directly aimed against the Jewish people's existence."
Army Radio reported that last year Hungarian protesters burned an Israeli flag during a demonstration against Hungarian government policies. Those who burned the flag were said to have belonged to a radical right-wing movement.
Two months prior to that demonstration, thousands of Fascist party supporters demonstrated outside the Jewish Agency building in Budapest. According to Army Radio, a protester at that demonstration called the Hungarian prime minister "a slave of the Jewish liberals."
The desecration of Jewish sites has become more widespread in Europe in recent months. In December 2011, vandals sprayed swastikas on dozens of tombstones in a Jewish cemetery recently restored by American and Kosovar students.
On March 18, vandals desecrated a Jewish cemetery in Warsaw, spraying swastikas and anti-Semitic slogans on tombstones and memorial plaques. The vandals also wrote, “This is Poland, not Israel,” on one sign at the Jewish cemetery in Wysokie Mazowieckie, a town in eastern Poland, according to the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland.
On March 24, less than a week after the attack on the Ozar Hatorah school in Toulouse, France, in which a rabbi and three children, two of them the rabbi’s sons, were gunned down by a Muslim extremist, a number of graves in a Jewish cemetery in the south of France were desecrated. French media sources reported that 36 of the 600 graves in a cemetery in Nice were damaged, with Stars of David ripped off of memorial candle lamps and headstones smashed. Parts of some headstones were even stolen.