A Knesset delegation headed by MK Alex Miller (Yisrael Beitenu) returned over the weekend from a visit to Lithuania and Latvia. The visit to the Baltic states was an initiative of Knesset Speaker Yuli-Yoel Edelstein, in cooperation with Yad Vashem and the Genesis Philanthropy Group (a philanthropic group whose goal is to develop and enhance Jewish identity among Russian-speaking Jews worldwide). The meetings between senior Knesset officials and parliamentarians from Lithuania and Latvia focused on Jewish content and the events of the Holocaust in these countries.

Among other things, the delegation members visited the Vilna Ghetto and synagogues in Riga and also met with heads of the Jewish community. In addition, an emotional ceremony was held in Lithuania`s Ponary Forest, where more than 70,000 Jews were murdered. During the ceremony, one of the survivors of the massacre spoke about her experience.

Apart from Knesset members, the delegation also included representatives of Yad Vashem, government offices and local authorities. The delegation members met with their counterparts in Vilna and Riga and exchanged ideas for cooperation.

”It was an emotional visit to countries in which the Jewish people experienced a tragedy,” MK Miller said. ”The history of these countries is not simple at all, from our perspective; however, we saw that today we have friends in these countries; true friends of Israel with an uncompromising stance in support of Israel. These countries have influence in the European Union, and this, of course, is significant. We exchanged a fair amount of ideas for enhancing our relations, and I am convinced that the cooperation will continue and even intensify.”