Israel–Lithuania relations

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Israel-Lithuania relations
Map indicating locations of Israel and Lithuania

Israel

Lithuania

Israel–Lithuania relations are foreign relations between Israel and Lithuania. Israel recognized Lithuania’s independence in 1991. Both countries established diplomatic relation in 1992. Israel is represented in Lithuania through its embassy in Riga (Latvia). Lithuania has an embassy in Tel Aviv and two honorary consulates (in Herzliya and Ramat Gan). Israel would be opening an embassy in Lithuania in 2015[1]

There are 3,600 Jews living in Lithuania. Both countries are full members of the Union for the Mediterranean. However, an issue arose in 2007 when Lithuania requested that Israel extradite Yitzhak Arad, a former Soviet partisan fighter during World War II, a former General in the Israel Defense Forces, and a former Director of Israel's holocaust museum. Lithuania suspected that Arad had participated in partisan massacres against Lithuanian civilians during the Second World War. Lithuania's chief prosecutor requested that Israel turn over Arad for questioning. However, Israel refused the request. It is well known however, that many non Jewish Lithuanians, such as members of the Lithuanian Activist Front, participated in the many large scale massacres of Jews perpetrated by Einsatzkommando 9 a firing squad of S.S. men. These happened in Vilna or close by in the woods of Ponar, starting on July 4 1941.[2] They were also much larger crimes then the crimes Arad was suspected of doing. Many in the international community found the request for extradition of YItzhak Arad patently unfair seeing that Lithuania has never prosecuted one of its non Jewish citizens for the above mentioned crimes or any crimes perpetrated against Jews during the Holocaust. In that the Lithuanian Government has had that ability since independence in 1991 when perpetrators were most certainly alive and in all likely hood could be found, to this very day when it is less likely such criminals would still be alive. In Israel this caused large scale anger and most certainly soured relations. Lithuanian Prosecutors have since dropped the probe into Arad.[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Israel to open embassy in Lithuania". The Times of Israel . 11 September 2014. Retrieved 11 September 2014. 
  2. ^ Nazi Germany And The Jews 1939-1945 The Years Of Extermination, by Saul Freidlander First Harper Perennial Edition Published 2008 ISBN 978-0-06-093048-6 (pbk.) pages 220-221
  3. ^ EUROPEAN JEWISH PRESS, Yad Vashem welcomes Lithuanian decision to close case against historian Yitzhak Arad, John Milner last updated 29 sep. 2008

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