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Lithuanian President Shrugs Off Protest Over Jewish Cemetery Construction

(JTA) — The president of Lithuania dismissed concerns raised by 12 U.S. Congress members over the planned construction of a conference center atop what used to be a Jewish cemetery in Vilnius.

Responding to a letter sent last month by the lawmakers about the Piramont cemetery, Dalia Grybauskaitė on Monday told the BNS news agency that “decisions on Jewish cemeteries are taken together with the Lithuanian Jewish community and the Committee for the Preservation of Jewish Cemeteries in Europe.”

The congressmen, including Randy Weber, R-Texas, and Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., wrote that the plans “conflict with the respect for human dignity.”

Lithuanian Jews are split on the approval for the project given by Faina Kukliansky, who heads the national umbrella group that is charged with representing the community. Kukliansky has long faced accusations of corruption, which she has denied.

A petition launched online against the plan last year has gathered approximately 40,000 signatures. Jewish Orthodox law prohibits disturbing human remains except in special cases.

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Lithuanian President Shrugs Off Protest Over Jewish Cemetery Construction

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