World Jewish Community reacts with shock, horror and anger

Media reports indicate that there is concern the Lithuanian government and Turto Bankas, the property arm of the government, conducted illegal monetary transactions.

The world Jewish community including the Vilnius Jewish community has responded with shock, anger and horror at the Lithuanian government’s decision to develop a conference center on the grounds of a 500-year old cemetery. The Jewish cemetery located in Piramont (Shnipishok), Vilnius, Lithuania is the same cemetery where the famous Torah scholar, the “Vilna Gaon” was initially buried. 

In 2005, the country as a newly established sovereign state authorized the desecration of a 500-year old Jewish cemetery (Piramont in Shnipishok) in Vilnius, where two apartment blocks were constructed on the site. 

In 2008, the U.S House of Representatives passed a resolution condemning the Republic of Lithuania’s government for the desecration and human rights violation.

Despite world outrage at Lithuania’s antisemitic action, Lithuanian officials recently announced approval of their plan to develop an International Conference Center on the 500-year old Piramont cemetery, where the famous Torah scholar, the “Vilna Gaon” was initially buried.

Rabbi Elchonon Baron, a leading Jewish activist who is involved in a number of causes, expressed dismay at the Lithuanian government’s decision. “The government has reneged on previous undertakings with us “promising that it would not proceed with the development.” We feel betrayed and badly let down,” Rabbi Baron stated.

Independent media reports indicate that there is concern the Lithuanian government and Turto Bankas, conducted illegal monetary transactions to secure the support of a rogue Jewish interest group who could rubber stamp their conference development plan, so that it could receive automatic approval. An official investigation by the STT, (the Special Investigations division dedicated to prosecute corruption), into the alleged illegal transactions could not be confirmed.

Global anger in the way that U.S. and EU taxpayers are funding the Lithuanian government’s conduct unbecoming, has become evident on social media of late.

Some geopolitical analysts argue that the latest antisemitic action, places Lithuania’s membership with NATO in jeopardy. Others assert that given the state of political instability in Belarus, dropping Lithuania is an unlikely scenario. The logic is that irrespective of Lithuania’s missteps in political protocol, NATO needs Lithuania and will therefore turn a blind-eye to a government which is essentially antisemitic. Whether the U.S. will dance to that tune, remains to be seen.

Additionally, relief funding earmarked for the coronavirus fallout from the EU, is expected to come under reconsideration.

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Contact Info:
Name: Jonathan Braun
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Organization: Save Vilna

Release ID: 88974660