Speaker of the Seimas: ‘Israel can undoubtedly rely on Lithuania’
Press release, 8 February 2022
On 8 February 2022, in the context of her visit to Jerusalem, Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen, Speaker of the Seimas, met with Mickey Levy, Speaker of the Knesset of the State of Israel. The meeting marked the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Lithuania and Israel and served to discuss the bilateral relations and their further development prospects. Moreover, the meeting recalled the history of Jews in Lithuania, which spans over seven centuries and constitutes an integral and very rich part of Lithuania’s history.
‘This visit is symbolic for our countries. It marks the 30th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between our two states. During the past three decades, the relations between Lithuania and Israel have evolved, significantly strengthened and matured. Today, we interact as free, developed and globally renowned democracies that have a lot to offer to each other.
I would like Israel to see Lithuania as a committed and influential member of the EU and of the global community, a state committed to the defence of freedom and values within its borders and beyond, a modern country open to investment and co-creation, and a country that respects historical memory, the freedom of religion and the freedoms of all people of all ethnic origins.
For our part, today we see Israel as the cradle of science and innovation, a country of responsible people devoted and committed to the defence of their state, and a strong state that is exceptionally successful in bringing its widespread diaspora together.
I take this opportunity to congratulate the State of Israel and its people on the upcoming 75th Anniversary of the State of Israel’, Ms Čmilytė-Nielsen said at the press conference held following the meeting with the Speaker of the Knesset.
According to the Speaker of the Seimas, we live at a time when international law and human values are often underestimated. We are looking for allies in an effort to strengthen our bilateral relations. Meanwhile, Israel can undoubtedly rely on Lithuania when the fundamental issues of national survival, development and security are addressed on the international scene. We have proved this on multiple occasions by making the relevant decisions.
It is the second day of the visit of the Lithuanian delegation to Israel. Yesterday, the Speaker of the Seimas participated in six meetings, one of them being of particular importance as the delegation visited Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Centre.
At Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Centre. Photo by Olga Posaškova, Office of the Seimas
‘Unfortunately, the book of our shared history also contains a number of very painful chapters we can neither erase nor forget. Our Jewish fellow citizens, who made a great contribution to the creation and fostering of our state, were killed in their own land, made famous by themselves as the Jerusalem of the North. Neither will we bring back the ones who perished, nor will we change the past. We have to do our best to prevent the Tragedy from ever repeating itself again, be it in Lithuania or elsewhere in the world. Never. Nowhere.
Light alone can overcome the darkness of the Holocaust. This light lies in the memories about the victims and in the efforts to remember their names and faces. It is inseparable from the realisation that the tragedy of the Jewish people was a tragedy of entire Lithuania. This light is further reinforced by the commitment of each of us individually and by our national commitment to combat anti-Semitism and all forms and manifestations of racism and xenophobia. Therefore, the current government of Lithuania attaches immense importance to commemoration of the Holocaust and to historical justice,’ said Ms Čmilytė-Nielsen at Yad Vashem.
Wreath-laying at Yad Vashem. Photo by Olga Posaškova, Office of the Seimas
Opening of the Honorary Consulate of the Republic of Lithuania in Netanya. Photo by Olga Posaškova, Office of the Seimas
Yesterday, the Speaker of the Seimas officially opened an Honorary Consulate of the Republic of Lithuania in Netanya.
Tomorrow, on 9 February 2022, the Speaker of the Seimas is going to meet Isaac Herzog, President of the State of Israel. At the official dinner to be held in the evening, she is going to present the Speaker of the Knesset with a gift to remind him of the Year of the Vilna Gaon and of the History of the Jews of Lithuania, which was commemorated a year ago and aimed at cultivating the history of the Lithuanian Jews, spanning over 700 years and constituting an integral and very rich part of Lithuania’s history.
‘The Speaker of the Knesset will be reminded of these efforts of the state of Lithuania by a collection coin minted by the Bank of Lithuania and dedicated to Elijah Solomon Zalman, the Vilna Gaon. Incidentally, this is the only coin with Hebrew characters in Europe. I will present it to the honourable Speaker of the Knesset as a memento,’ said Ms Čmilytė-Nielsen.
Ilona Petrovė, Spokesperson to Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen, Speaker of the Seimas, tel. +370 5 239 6030, mob. +370 698 42071, e-mail: [email protected], www.lrs.lt