70 Hungarian postcards to the 70-year-old Israel

The Új Kelet is 100 years old

By Éva Vadász - 2018-02-11

Translated from the Hungarian original: Bea Sara Goll

When we were young in Hungary and summer came we took the Új Kelet [The New East] newspapers that pilied u pin our Budapest homes, to our weekend houses at the Lake Balaton, we took them there because summer is the time for laughter. The newspaper in its sadness was more then entertaining, written by Hungarians living in the Jewish State who could not stand Hungary and - in our not so humble opinion,- wrote in a long died out Hungarian language that they took with themselves when moving to Israel. We thought that claims of its extraordinary value were laughable. Then - as one understands Béla Bartók only after having passed 40 - we immigrated to the Country and only after making aliya did we realize that the Új Kelet writers – their grammar and spelling notwithstanding – maintained the Hungarian culture in the Israeli diversity with this newspaper. Then when a few years ago Új Kelet was changed inside and out, we said: “A+!”. (from a Reader’s letter)

Új Kelet cover page 1925

Új Kelet is a 100-year-old newspaper, popular among Hungarian Jews and Israeli Hungarians. The newspaper was first published in 1918 in Kolozsvár [Cluj Napoca], and it was re-published in Tel-Aviv after the Second World War, serving the Hungarian-speaking people of Israel. Today it is the only Hungarian-language newspaper in print in Israel. In 2015, the current editorial board took over the page from the previous owner and opened a new chapter in its life. The editorial office is therefore called Az Új Kelet Nem a Régi [The New East Not The Old One]. The number of readers is the indicator of the visibility and impact of the Hungarian community in Israel. This is the work of Új Kelet. Introducing the life of Israel with a Hungarian seasoning and exciting perspectives; sometimes becoming hot headed, but in any case it strives to show a glatt kosher reality.

For example, in articles such as the Legendás lények a nappalimban  [Legendary beings in my living room] in the November 2017 issue, which listed those not at all kosher creatures having their natural habitat in Israel, that upon the first encounter tend to startle the people coming from 

Hungary, but then they learn to live with them - in the living room.


In the past, these living rooms served as salons and as witnesses to famous and popular organizations, associations, cultural forums that kept the Hungarian legacy alive in the Country.

In the present, these rooms are virtual. Such forums are mostly accessible on the Internet. Star interviews, such as the Hillel Neuer UN observer or the one with Professor Aumann, mathematician and Nobel Prize laureate; these are always posted on the paper's website, which is offered by izraelinfo.com, a Hungarian portal operated in Israel.


Talented Hungarian writers are not easy to find in Israel, but watchful eyes often get lucky. The best example for this is the poem with the title Izraelben [In Israel] published in the summer issue, written by the newest Új Kelet fan and tourist, Ádám Simmel, who is only 6 years old.


He is already of a generation that speaks a new Hungarian language. Not the one spoken on the former streets of Pest or in the courtyards of Kolozsvár. This is the greatest challenge for Új Kelet: to keep the balance between our veterans and our ole hadas contributors. And with our presenting the terribly complex politics of Israel, too! Because in the country where there is but one Hungarian newspaper, we must represent all political views. The Right and the Left and even the straight line.


Új Kelet is grateful to the Hungarian community in Israel for being able to them. This brings a special Hungarian life to the Hungarian living rooms of Israel. Tomi Lapid's memories beyond the grave, Efraim Kishon’s satire, Ernő Marton's keen insights - to mention just a few of the old paper’s authors who founded the nowadays voluntary professionalism of the paper. Yes, voluntary. Új Kelet is currently being produced by volunteers. Volunteers who appreciate printed newspapers, not only out of sheer romantic snobbery, but also because these add an important value.

The editorial office along with the authors, invest enormous energies to entertain the readers with interesting themes also in the future. Especially in 2018, when Új Kelet is celebrating its 100th anniversary. 100 years - in the life of a paper this is the year of fireworks and fanfares, when we reflect on the past, celebrate the present and with eyes shining, full of hope, gaze into the future.


"Because the future of politicians is now in the digital hands of the Internet generation, who cannot figure out how much two plus two is, but they know well enough how to push the buttons of the television with their toes even in the middle of the night." Efraim Kishon

Under the guidance of the new leadership, Új Kelet is now published on the Internet and in social media too. Working with virtual media editors, together with its media partner, Izraelinfo, with love, enthusiasm and eyes shining.




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