The presidents of Lithuania and Israel on Sunday underlined the importance of preserving the heritage of Lithuanian Jews and of expanding business ties as they marked 25 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Israeli flag
© DELFI / Domantas Pipas

"Everywhere you look, the ties between our two nations get deeper and stronger, the olive and oak, growing as one," Dalia Grybauskaitė and Reuven Rivlin said in a joint statement issued on this occasion.

The two presidents underscored the need to ensure, through remembrance and education, that the tragedy of the Holocaust never happens again.

"We have to commemorate the past by honoring the innocent victims and the righteous, by studying about the perpetrators and collaborators, as well as by building bilateral relations based on friendship and mutual respect," they said.

Grybauskaitė and Rivlin noted that "there are numerous areas in which the relations between Lithuania and Israel are already quite strong and many more spheres in which the partnership could and will be expanded".

"Both countries are successfully developing high technologies. Lithuania is the global leader in laser technologies and communications, and Israel is the frontrunner in research and innovation. Our countries exchange experience in medicine, share methods of education and reveal their cultural treasures, cooperate in the fields of defense and security, look for opportunities to export and import from each other," the presidents said.

"In the halls of the United Nations, Lithuania strongly supported Israel while, in turn, Israel has aided Lithuania in its goal to join the OECD. Everywhere you look, the ties between our two nations get deeper and stronger, the olive and oak, growing as one," they said in the statement.

Lithuania is one of the strongest supporters of Israel in the European Union and it usually does not back Palestinian initiatives.

The Nazis, often assisted by their Lithuanian collaborators, massacred about 90 percent of the Lithuanian pre-war Jewish population of over 200,000 during World War II. Almost 900 Lithuanians have been recognized as Righteous Among the Nations for risking their lives to rescue Jews from the genocide.

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