On Thursday March 1 the Embassy of Bulgaria in Tel Aviv marked its National Day with an especially festive celebration coinciding with the Jewish holiday of Purim. Diplomats and those with personal and commercial ties to Bulgaria convened at the Dan Hotel in Tel Aviv to mark the occasion.
After the singing of both countries’ anthems, Honorary Consul Moni Bar opened the formal portion of the event by talking about the success of the Bulgarian aliya, which included Bar himself along with his family. Bar also served as the emcee for the event.
H.E. Ambassador Dimitar Mihaylov then addressed the crowd in his impeccable Hebrew, quoting Theodor Herzl and applying Herzl’s words to the diplomatic ties between Bulgaria and Israel today. Ambassador Mihaylov cited upcoming high-level diplomatic visits, including the first by Bulgarian President Radev since becoming president, who is expected to meet the president and prime minister of Israel, as well as visiting Yad Vashem, and delivering a speech at the 6th international conference to combat anti-Semitism.
In June the prime minister of Bulgaria is expected to arrive for a series of meetings with Israeli political leaders regarding cooperation and bilateral ties. Prime Minister Borissov will attend the dedication of a monument to the saving of Bulgarian Jewry during the Holocaust. The monument will be placed in Tel Aviv, and matches one recently installed in Bulgaria. During his visit the prime minister is also expected to meet with 3,000 Israelis of Bulgarian heritage at the Cultural Hall in Tel Aviv. Ambassador Mihaylov also noted that more than 5 Bulgarian ministers have visited or are expected to visit Israel during the year, and he also cited an upcoming Israeli delegation to Bulgaria, led by Knesset member Eitan Broshy, as well as a delegation of Bulgarian Israelis, which will take part in the events planned to celebrate the saving of Bulgarian Jewry during World War II, while also commemorating the murder of more than 11, 300 Jews from Macedonia and Thrace in the Treblinka concentration camp.
Member of Knesset and deputy minister of public diplomacy Dr. Michael Oren addressed the crowd on behalf of the Israeli government, noting Ambassador Mihaylov’s fluent Hebrew skills. Dr. Oren spoke of the past, present and future ties between Bulgaria and Israel. Regarding the past, he noted how Bulgarian Jews were saved during the Holocaust, and then the emigration to Israel of approximately 90% of the Jewish community shortly after the founding of the state. Dr. Oren mentioned the present, citing excellent cooperation between the two countries in a range of fields, including economics, trade, and tourism, and the various high-level political and diplomatic visits. Finally Dr. Oren turned to the future, detailing potentials for Bulgarian-Israeli cooperation in the hi-tech industry, and mutual concerns for stability in the face of a rise in far-right neo-Nazi support across Europe, Bulgaria’s upcoming role as president of the European Union
Member of Knesset Eitan Broshi spoke next. He talked of the treaty of peace and cooperation between Israel and Bulgaria that Bulgarian emigrants to Israel helped to create. Mr. Broshi talked of the shared interests and cooperation between the two nations, noting that in two years they would mark 70 years of diplomatic ties. Mr. Broshi listed trade and security as some of the areas for strong binational partnerships, and expressed his hope for increased cooperation in the field of agriculture and water conservation. Mr. Broshi explained that as the Knesset member in charge of the parliamentary friendship association between Bulgaria and Israel, he would be traveling to Bulgaria shortly to represent Israel and participate in the commemorative events there.
Following the speeches, guests enjoyed catered dinner at the hotel. The distinguished guests at the celebration included many diplomats and military attaches, as well as former Ambassador of Israel to Bulgaria David Cohen; former Ambassador of Israel to Bulgaria Avraham (Avi) Sharon; Israeli ambassador Yitzhak Eldan, head of the Israeli School for Young Ambassadors; Itzhak Lipovetzky, President of the Israel-Bulgaria Friendship association; Philippe Guillien, French language attache and course director at the Institut Francais; Stephen Abrahams, from the Ministry of National Infrastructures Energy and Water Resources, and Yona Bartal, Representative of The Peres Center for Peace and Innovation.
In the beginning of February, the Bulgarian Minister of Tourism, Nikolina Angelkova, visited Israel to participated in the annual IMTM tourism exhibition. Minister Angelkova’s visit also included meeting with the relevant Israeli counterparts and offices.
Diplomacy.co.il wishes congratulations to the Embassy of Bulgaria on its national day celebration and upcoming events.
Photos Silvia G Golan