Netanyahu to Lithuanian PM: Thank you for your courage

Netanyahu meets Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis, thanks him for taking a stand of "clarity, truth and courage" at the EU.

Arutz Sheva Staff,

Binyamin Netanyahu and Sauliu Skvernelis
Binyamin Netanyahu and Sauliu Skvernelis
Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met on Thursday evening with Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis at his office in Vilnius. Also attending the meeting were Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius, Interior Minister Eimutis Misiunas and the two entourages.

Skvernelis also hosted an official dinner for Netanyahu.

During the meeting, Netanyahu said, "Thank you Prime Minister for your warm hospitality that you've shown to me and my delegation. I'm deeply honored to be the first Israeli Prime Minister to visit Lithuania. I want to congratulate you on recently celebrating 100 years of Lithuania's independence and I’m doing so again on this important day in your history.”

“Lithuania and Israel are as you said natural allies. We share the values of freedom and democracy. We are two nation states proud of our national identity and committed to protecting individual rights,” he continued.

“Lithuania stresses in its constitution that sovereignty belongs to the Lithuanian people while maintaining an unflagging democracy for all. You take great pride in your customs, in your language, your unique heritage and your historic capital. I have to tell you Prime Minister all that sounds very familiar to us. Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people. We too are proud of our history, our long history, our robust and pluralistic democracy which guarantees the rights of all our citizens. We are proud of our language, an ancient language, Hebrew revived after thousands of years, our traditions and our historic capital Jerusalem to which I invite you and your colleagues,” Netanyahu told Skvernelis.

“Today our two nations cooperate in meeting the challenges of the present and seizing the opportunities of the future. One of these common challenges in the present is the threat of terrorism that can spread to everywhere and can reach everywhere. And we are cooperating on this matter as well.”

“The great opportunity that we face and we discussed at great length in our discussion today, and we'll continue I'm sure this evening and tomorrow, is the opportunity of technology. We both understand that a great revolution is taking place in the economy of the world and in history. The future belongs to those who innovate. Israel is an innovation nation. Lithuania is an innovation nation. We can do better together.”

“I want to stress, everything, every single endeavor of human activity is becoming technology. Israel is a world leader in industries of the future, from cyber security to autonomous driving, to precision agriculture, digital health, every manner of IT and so many other fields. Lithuania is a world leader in laser technology. I'm very impressed with what I see here. A world leader also in the field of life sciences and so many other things.”

“I believe that seizing these technologies enables small countries to have an impact of big countries. And we are each seizing our future in our own special ways but we can seize it better together,” Netanyahu told his Lithuanian counterpart.

“Last year our two countries celebrated 25 years of diplomatic relations. And cooperation obviously increases each year, particularly since we opened our embassy here in Vilnius in 2015,” he said.

“I want to thank you Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Linas. I want to thank you for the strong position you have taken in the forums of the EU on behalf of truth, on behalf of Israel, on behalf of decency.”

Netanyahu pointed out that “Israel is often mistreated by the EU in Brussels. There are many distortions that are leveled at us and it's refreshing to see that you take a stand of clarity, of truth and of courage. And we discussed how that can be expanded.”

“Equally I appreciate the fact that you have taken a very similar position on the question of the Iran deal. It was a terrible deal and today we learned that three major carriers, BA, KLM and Air France have discontinued their activity in Iran. That's good. More should follow, more will follow, because Iran should not be rewarded for its aggression in the region, for its attempts to spread terrorism far and wide in the Middle East, into Europe as they did the other week and to many other places in the world.”

“I appreciate the important, realistic, independent and sober stand of Lithuania on these and other matters,” he said.

Netanyahu pointed out the historical connection between the Jewish people and Lithuania and said, “I am deeply moved by the fact that your country has decided to honor the legacy of the Gaon of Vilna and to mark the 300 years of his birth. And we appreciate it greatly as a country, as a people and I want to say I personally appreciate it very much.”

“Vilnius was known as the 'Jerusalem of Lita,' 'Jerusalem of Lithuania,' but as you know there was also a dark chapter. The Jews of Lithuania were almost entirely wiped out in the Holocaust by the Nazis and their collaborators,” he continued.

“Mr. Prime Minister you have taken great steps to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust, to speak openly about this horrible crime that must never be repeated and I want to thank you for your commitment to fighting antisemitism wherever it rears its ugly head.”