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Israel's former president Shimon Peres was a person of outstanding intelligence who always emphasized his links to Lithuania, says Faina Kukliansky, the leader of the Jewish Community in Lithuania.
Shimon Peres
Shimon Peres
© AP/Scanpix

"For us, the Jews of Lithuania, it was important that he was one of us – we always considered him a Litvak, he saw himself as a Litvak. He comes from Vishnyeva, a village in Belarus some 70 km from Vilnius that was in the Lithuanian territory at the time. It is a good thing for us that our fellow was so intelligent, so educated and such an erudite, he could discuss any topic even in his honorable age. All of our community is sad. We know that human lives are not unlimited, however, faced with death you are always taken by sadness," Kukliansky told BNS.

Peres was in Vilnius three years ago, Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaite met with him in Israel last year. He was awarded the Grand Cross of the Order For Merits to Lithuania in February of 2016.

Peres passed away in early hours of Wednesday at the age of 93. He served as Israel's president in 2007-2014. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for peace in 1994 and was granted honorary citizenship of Vilnius in 2013.

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