Erez Golan, Deputy Chief of Mission of Israel to Lithuania: “We will never forget Lithuania’s solidarity amid the trying time for us”

  • 2023-10-17
  • Linas Jegelevicius

An outpouring of sympathy and solidarity following the heinous attack by Hamas on Israel is omnipresent in Lithuania – many state, educational and private institutions adorned their buildings with Israeli flags.

Erez Golan, Deputy Chief of Mission of Israel to Lithuania, told The Baltic Times: “We’ve been seeing a lot of support for Israel in Lithuania since the attack on our country. It is coming from all over, including the President (Gitanas Nauseda), the Prime Minister (Ingrida Simonyte), the Parliament (Seimas), which condemned the attack carried out by the terrorist organisation, Hamas. But there we also have Hezbollah (a Lebanese Shia Islamist political party and militant group) being funded by Iran. We’re also seeing support and understanding coming from the other Lithuanian institutions – municipalities, museums, academic institutions – and we appreciate it very much.”

“Of course, I saw Palanga bridge, the symbol of Palanga resort on the Baltic Sea coast, going all blue – being adorned with the Israeli flags. It touches my heart. This is something we will never forget,” E. Golan emphasised.

Since the attack, Mission of Israel in Lithuania has been receiving many calls and enquiries from Israelis who wish to go back to Israel and, according to E. Golan, “stay with their families and friends.”

“Many of them are in grief at the tragic moment, as nearly everyone knows someone in Israel who was either murdered of injured or left on the streets with their home destroyed,” he said.

According to him, there is also a big group of Israeli students who study in Lithuanian University of Health Sciences in Kaunas – some of them want to go back and join the military on the battlefield – fight the terrorists. 

“As the airlines, WizzAir and Ryanair cancelled their flights to Israel, they are looking for other ways to get back to Israel as soon as possible,” E. Golan said.

Mission has also been in touch with Lithuanian Embassy in Israel throughout, trying to help it.

“I am in touch with the Lithuanian consul in Israel to make sure your consulate has all it needs – information first of all and required assistance from our authorities,” Deputy Chief of Mission of Israel to Lithuania underlined.

Lithuania’s Spartan military aircraft brought 30 people, including an infant, who were evacuated from Israel to Turkey earlier last week, back to Vilnius on late October 14.

In total, Spartan conducted three evacuation flights last week, transporting 95 people, mostly Lithuanian citizens, from Tel Aviv to Antalya. Many of them decided to return to Lithuania on their own.

“These days are very difficult for Israel, as over the last 75 years of its independence, there has never been a situation in which, in one day, over thirteen hundred people were murdered, and more than three thousand people were injured; over the days, we saw more than 6500 rocket launches towards Israel,” E. Golan said.

“The terror organisation, Hamas, massacred our people, raped our women, but as a nation, I believe we’ve come together being united in fighting the terrorists,” he underlined.

As a reminder, the Lithuanian parliament, Seimas, has unanimously passsed a resolution condemning the recent Hamas attacks in Israel. The resolution was passed by 108 votes in favour, with no votes against or abstentions.

The Lithuanian parliament’s resolution on “Terrorist attacks and military aggression against the State of Israel” strongly condemns the recent “bloody, unprovoked attacks in the State of Israel” by the “Iranian-backed Hamas group” and expresses condolences to the people of Israel.

It stresses that “the Israeli people, both civilians and soldiers, who have been taken hostage, must be released immediately”. It also calls on the government of foreign countries with official Hamas presence to expel their personnel and expresses support for Israel’s actions “against the ongoing military provocations by the Hezbollah terrorist organisation”.

The Lithuanian Seimas also calls on the European Union to designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as an international terrorist organisation, to express solidarity with Israel, and to provide political, intelligence and diplomatic support to Israel.

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda and other EU leaders have also condemned the terrorist group Hamas’ attacks on Israel in a joint statement.