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Lauder re-elected World Jewish Congress head


World Jewish Congress president Ronald Lauder has been re-elected unopposed for a second four-year term at a meeting being held in Budapest in solidarity with Hungary's embattled Jewish community.

"I am excited to serve as (president) for another four years," Lauder told the more than 500 delegates from 70 Jewish communities around the world after the vote late Monday, calling the position the "top assignment" for Jewish people.

The billionaire philanthropist -- son of the cosmetics mogul Estee Lauder -- set up the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation in 1987 with the goal of rebuilding Jewish communities in central and eastern Europe devastated in World War II.

Lauder also sits on the boards of the International Society for Yad Vashem and the US Holocaust Memorial Council among others, and served as US ambassador to Austria between 1986 and 1987.

The WJC, which represents Jewish communities outside Israel, decided to meet in Hungary in solidarity with the EU member's Jewish community which it says has suffered increasing anti-Semitism in recent years.

The three-day plenary assembly, also attended by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, was due to end later Tuesday with a closing speech by Lauder.

Orban told the gathering that anti-Semitism was "unacceptable and intolerable", but the WJC expressed "regret" that he did not address recent incidents or provide sufficient reassurance that a clear line has been drawn between the government and the far-right Jobbik party.