VILNIUS - An Israeli court has ruled that all parties participating in the development of a conference center on a 500-year old Jewish cemetery in Vilnius, Lithuania must cease and desist from all further activity.

The ruling is a blow to the developers of the controversial conference center initiative, the Lithuanian Government, Turto Bankas and the Vilnius City Council who according to the court order may not continue with the initiative.

The Israeli court’s decision effectively precludes all parties including the Jewish members of the team from participating in the development, stating that efforts of the developers to build an international conference center on the cemetery violate Jewish and international law. The controversial development had been strongly condemned by world Jewry, global politicians including the White House and multi-denominational spiritual leaders have condemned the development.

Jewish activists have lobbied for Lithuanian authorities to halt the plan, as use of a Jewish cemetery for any purpose other than as a resting place for the deceased, is prohibited.

According to the Vilnius Jewish community, “Jewish partners” were falsely staged as representatives of the Jewish community to fraudulently rubber stamp the administrative process. Some of the participants in the ill-fated initiative to develop the conference center, are alleged to be part of a scheme which is brimming with deep-seated corruption. 

The Israeli court decision was made by the esteemed Rabbi Nissim Korelitz’s Supreme Court, a rabbinical court in Bnei Brak, which is held in high regard. The ruling is a reinforcement of decisions in halacha, made by the most senior experts in Jewish law.

Reports of a second court order, directed against all the participants in the development of the conference center, in a personal capacity, could not be confirmed.

Representatives of the Lithuanian government, Turtos Bankos and the Vilnius City Council were not available for comment.


Jonathan Braun

Human Rights Court Watch


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