Two weeks ago, the Vilnius (Vilna) city council voted to change the name of a street named for a Nazi collaborator and committed anti-Semite who was long considered a hero for fighting the Soviets during World War II. In April, a decision was made to take down a plaque elsewhere in the city honoring a similar figure. The Lithuanian parliament also voted to make 2020 the “Year of the Vilna Gaon and the History of the Jews of Lithuania,” to honor the 300th centennial of the birth of Elijah ben Shlomo Zalman—the famous talmudic genius who lived in what is now the country’s capital city. But, writes Raphael Ahren, the small former Soviet state’s reckoning with history remains complicated:
Lithuania Struggles to Come to Terms with Its Checkered Jewish Past
Understanding Hizballah’s Sprawling South American Crime Syndicate
Sunday marked the 27th anniversary of Hizballah’s bloody bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, which demonstrated to the world the long reach of the Lebanon-based terrorist group. But its presence in Latin America goes far beyond plotting attacks: located on the continent is the heart of its global criminal empire, which Hizballah uses to supplement the income it receives from its masters in Tehran. Emanuele Ottolenghi, drawing on detailed and extensive research, explains the inner workings of the group’s illicit operations, and its recent attempt to relocate networks disrupted by the U.S. and Europe to the tri-border area (TBA), where Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil meet.