First Reading of Jewish Communal Property Restitution Bill passes the Lithuanian Parliament

The first reading of the long-delayed restitution bill dealing with Jewish communal property in Lithuania passed the Seimas (Lithuanian parliament) today. It will next be considered by the Committee on Legal Affairs on 21 December. There are diverse opinions regarding various aspects of the text of the law and accompanying documents.

Most seriously, experts say that the document contains no clear mention of the actual legal recipient, leading to fears (despite verbal assurances)  that the project could in the future be diverted to the ‘Disneyland Vilna Ghetto Theme Park’ as per the wish of powerful forces in the government. That project is anathema to the Jewish community (see here and here).

When the bill was announced, the government’s official  Jewish Affairs Advisor, Arkadijus Vinokuras, published a blistering attack on the Jewish Community of Lithuania’s presumed role as future recipient of restitution. Mr Vinokuras is a close ally of Conservative Party MP Emanuelis Zingeris. English translation here.

Reports on  Alfa.ltBNSEuropean Jewish PressOttawa CitizenReuters.

[updated 14 Nov 2010]

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