Israel Opens First Embassy in Lithuania

YERUSHALAYIM (Hamodia Staff) -

Seventy years after the annihilation of most of the Jews of Lithuania, the state of Israel opened its first embassy in the capital city of Vilnius, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported.

The inauguration of the embassy took place on Thursday.

“Flying a flag here in Vilnius carries a special significance. This is a country which is a cornerstone in Jewish heritage, where some of the great Jewish thinkers came from,” Dan Ushpizin, a senior Israeli diplomat who attended the opening ceremony on Thursday.

During the ceremony, a rabbi affixed a mezuzah  to the doorframe of the mission, the Baltic News Service reported.

Israel’s first ambassador to Lithuania will be Amir Maimon.

Lithuania opened its embassy in Israel shortly after the two countries established diplomatic relations, in 1992 — a year after Lithuania regained its independence from Russia following the fall of the Soviet Union. In 2012, Lithuania, which has been a member of the European Union since 2003, appointed a commercial attache to serve in Israel.

Lithuania once had approximately 250,000 Jews, but the vast majority were murdered by German Nazis and their local collaborators. About a quarter of the country’s population was Jewish before the Holocaust.