Photo Credit: Amos Ben Gershom / GPO
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis in Vilnius. August 24, 2018

Lithuania and Israel are “natural allies,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a joint news conference held Thursday in Vilnius with his Lithuanian counterpart, Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis.

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Netanyahu, the first Israeli prime minister to visit Lithuania, told reporters the two countries “share the values of freedom and democracy” and that both are “proud of our national identity.”

He went on to point out that 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,” Netanyahu said. “I have to tell you, Prime Minister, all that sounds very familiar to us,” he commented, with a clear reference to the recent Basic Law: Nation-State of the Jewish People passed by the Israeli Knesset.

“Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people,” Netanyahu said. “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.”

Israel and Lithuania are cooperating on ways to address the threat of terrorism, Netanyahu said, in addition to opening talks on ways to work together on technology.

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