Lithua­nia to Oba­mano give £29m in to Pol­lard com­pen­sa­tion mercy plea

The Jewish Chronicle - - World News - BY NIS­SAN TZUR BY JEN­NIFER LIP­MAN

THE LITHUA­NIAN gov­ern­ment has passed a law that will com­pen­sate Jews for prop­erty con­fis­cated dur­ing the Sec­ond World War and the com­mu­nist era.

Lithua­nian Prime Min­is­ter An­drius Ku­bil­ius said that 36.5 mil­lion eu­ros (£29m) will be placed in a fund over the next 10 years. The money will be spent on Jewish ed­u­ca­tion, re­li­gious and cul­tural projects, and help sup­port Jewish life and her­itage in Lithua­nia. An ad­di­tional 850,000 eu­ros are to be set aside for Lithua­nian Holo­caust vic­tims.

“By do­ing this we have made a huge step for­ward to as­sum­ing our moral re­spon­si­bil­ity for a some­times dif­fi­cult and tragic his­tory… I value pos­i­tively the fact that the gov­ern­ment and the Jewish com­mu­ni­ties man­aged to find right so­lu­tions” said Mr Ku­bil­ius.

Si­monas Alper­avi­cius, chair­man of Lithua­nia’s Jewish com­mu­nity, said the decision is a “mir­a­cle… a very im­por­tant decision for the whole of Lithua­nia, not only for the Jews… I am very grate­ful to the whole gov­ern­ment and the Prime Min­is­ter”.

The Is­raeli For­eign Min­istry also wel­comed Lithua­nia’s “im­por­tant act of his­toric jus­tice to­wards the Jewish com­mu­nity of Lithua­nia, which was mas­sa­cred, al­most in its en­tirety, by the Nazis and lo­cal col­lab­o­ra­tors”.

A PLEA for clemency for con­victed spy Jonathan Pol­lard has been re­jected by the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion de­spite at­tract­ing wide­spread sup­port.

A num­ber of high-pro­file fig­ures, in­clud­ing for­mer United States sec­re­tary of state, Henry Kissinger, and for­mer pres­i­den­tial can­di­date, John Mccain, have taken up Pol­lard’s case.

On Mon­day, Is­raeli Pres­i­dent Shi­mon Peres called upon the White House to free the for­mer US Navy in­tel­li­gence an­a­lyst, who was given a life sen­tence 15 years ago.

In his let­ter, Mr Peres urged the US pres­i­dent to re­lease the 57-year-old on hu­man­i­tar­ian grounds. Pol­lard, who was found guilty of giv­ing mil­i­tary se­crets to Is­rael, was ad­mit­ted to hospi­tal last week.

Pol­lard’scon­tin­ued­cap­tiv­i­tyre­mains a key is­sue for Is­raelis, and for many Jewish Amer­i­cans. He has al­ways main­tained that he spied only be­cause theus au­thor­i­ties were with­hold­ing in­for­ma­tion cru­cial for Is­rael’s se­cu­rity.

How­ever, the White House — main­tain­ing the stance of past Demo­cratic and Re­pub­li­can ad­min­is­tra­tions — said the spy would not be re­leased.

“Our po­si­tion hasn’t changed,” said Na­tional Se­cu­rity Coun­cil spokesman Tommy Vi­etor.

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