Did Prime Minister Netanyahu Really “Okay” the Vilnius “Conference Center in the Jewish Cemetery”?

[from the day’s front page]


In September, during his trip to Israel, the Lithuanian prime minister reported back home with triumph  that Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is quite happy with plans for a $25,000,000 national conference center in the middle of the old (15th century origin) Piramónt (Šnipiškės) Jewish cemetery in Vilnius. But did the Israeli PM really reject out-of-hand the growing  international Jewish (and non-Jewish) chorus of condemnation for a plan to have convention revelers clap, cheer, sing, drink in bars and use toilets surrounded by thousands of Jewish graves including some of the foremost Jewish scholars of the last millennium? Where his own ancestors are buried? Perhaps there has been some misunderstanding. Background on the cemetery’s history and implications of the case for all Europe, and on the current project.

And will Israel ask, howsoever gently, for public apologies for the three Israeli citizens defamed for history by Lithuania’s prosecutors? All three are heroes of the anti-Nazi resistance in the forests of Lithuania, and two are heroes of Israel’s 1948 War of Independence. Yitzhak Arad (who has spoken out in Defending History) is still defamed on prosecutors’ website[as PDF]  and by a “Human Rights [!] Association”. Written apologies for Israeli citizens Rachel Margolis (1921-2015) and Joseph Melamed? The 2009 Leivick House (Tel Aviv) speech of the late Ambassador of Israel to Lithuania & Latvia HE Chen Ivri Apter. Back then it was clear that Israel could build terrific relations with Lithuania without having to betray Holocaust survivors, the history of the Holocaust, or the integrity of Jewish cemeteries in post-Holocaust Europe.



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