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Lithuanian prime minister praises ties with Israel, makes no mention of her country's Nazi collaboration in WWII

Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė speaks at the American Jewish Committee's Global Forum event in Tel Aviv, June 11, 2023. (Photo courtesy AJC)

Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė praised the Jewish state as “the best antidote against Iranian weapons” during a speech she delivered at the American Jewish Committee forum in Tel Aviv.

The Lithuanian premier chose to focus on shared European-Israeli security interests amid the growing Iranian-Russian military alliance.

Unlike many Western European nations that are highly critical of Israel’s policies in Gaza and the West Bank, Šimonytė did not place blame on Jerusalem for the ongoing conflict with Hamas and the Palestinian Authority.

She praised bilateral Lithuanian-Israeli ties and stressed the Lithuanian Jewish community’s long presence and contribution to their society.

However, some critics blasted the Lithuanian leader for failing to mention Lithuania’s troublesome Nazi collaboration during the Holocaust.

“It’s absolutely pathetic,” said Efraim Zuroff, director of  Eastern European Affairs at the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

Zuroff, a prominent Nazi hunter, said the Holocaust constitutes “an indescribable trauma upon Lithuania, leaving lasting scars that persist even to this day.”

More than 90% of Lithuania’s Jewish community was wiped out during the Holocaust due to its extensive collaboration with Nazi Germany.

Prior to the Holocaust, Lithuania’s capital Vilnius, or Vilna, was known among Jews as the ‘Jerusalem of the North’ due to the large number of synagogues and prominent Jewish learning centers.

Like many other Eastern European countries with a troublesome history, Lithuania has been eager to focus on present and future relations with the Jewish state.

In May, three Baltic states that are launching a joint security forum to address the Russian threat in the region, expressed interest in establishing security cooperation with the Jewish state.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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