VILNIUS – Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis and his Israeli counterpart Gabi Ashkenazi have called to build a joint path to the future in an open letter published in the media of the two countries as Lithuania wrapped up the commemoration of the year of the Vilna Gaon and the history of the Jews in Lithuania.
“While commemorating the unique history of Judaism in Lithuania, we also remember the tragedy of holocaust. Simultaneously, we commit ourselves to remember and take an honest look at the past, however painful it might be,” the letter said.
“While remembering the past, we also develop new ideas, identify challenges and look for solutions. Remembering the past, we build a path to the future,” the ministers said.
Landsbergis and Ashkenazi discussed bilateral relations in a telephone conversation on Monday, Foreign Ministry said in a press release.
“For Lithuania, Israel is a priority partner, with whom we have strong ties of rich history and contacts between people. On the 29th anniversary of our diplomatic relations, we have to remember that the Lithuanian Jews have been an integral part of our society since the times of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and have made a significant contribution to the development of Lithuania’s statehood, history, culture and science. We see wide possibilities for cooperation between our countries in the future,” the press release quoted Landsbergis as saying.
Lithuania and Israel established diplomatic relations in January, 1992.
To commemorate the rich 700-year history of Jews in Lithuania and the Vilna Gaon's 300th birth anniversary, the Seimas designated 2020 the year of Vilna Gaon and the year of Jewish history in Lithuania.