Radev: Bulgarian Jews in Israel a ‘natural bridge’ for bilateral relations in education and culture

The Bulgarian Jewish community in Israel is a natural bridge for the development of bilateral relations in the field of education and culture, President Roumen Radev said at a meeting in Jerusalem with representatives of the comunity.

Radev is in Israel on a visit that includes participation in the Sixth Global Forum for Combating Anti-Semitism, in a year that sees celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the State of Israel, as well as commemorations of the 1943 rescue of the Bulgarian Jews from the Holocaust and the deportation of more than 11 000 Jews from Bulgarian-administered territory in northern Greece and Yugoslavia, who were murdered at Treblinka.

Speaking at his March 20 meeting with the community, Radev reiterated that for Bulgaria, Israel is a friend and strategic partner and relies on the support of Bulgarian Jews and their heirs for the further deepening of bilateral relations.

“You are the best ambassadors of Bulgaria in Israel because you have always been our friends,” Radev said.

He expressed his appreciation for the enthusiasm with which Bulgarian Jews keep the traditions and the spirit of the bilateral relations with the established clubs, organizations and associations.

“With President Reuben Rivlin, we share a common position that relations between Bulgaria and Israel must be much more active and beneficial in all areas, not only in terms of economy and investment,” Radev said.

Radev said that the unprecedented act of rescuing the Bulgarian Jews during the Second World War was a reason for pride for every Bulgarian.

He said that the rescue was not due to chance, but to the established centuries-old relations between Bulgarians and Jews.

“Our Jewish community in Bulgaria has always been fully integrated and has been an integral part of Bulgarian society. Always the Bulgarian Jews were side by side with their Bulgarian fellow citizens in the struggles of the Bulgarian people, as well as at the forefront of science, education and art in Bulgaria,” Radev said.

The delegation headed by Radev includes the President of the Organization of the Jews in Bulgaria “Shalom” Dr Alexander Oscar as well as Sofia Cohen, President of the Central Israelite Religious Council of Bulgaria and a member of the National Council of Religious Communities in Bulgaria.

The meeting was attended by dozens of representatives of the organizations of the Bulgarian Jews in the State of Israel.

Georg Georgiev, Deputy Foreign Minister and Bulgaria’s National Co-ordinator for Combating Anti-Semitism, took part on March 21 in a working breakfast of national coordinators and representatives of the States in the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.

The meeting was attended by  Katharina von Schnurbein, the EU co-ordinator against anti-Semitism, and Ran Yaakoby, chairman of the Global Forum for Anti-Semitism and Head of the Israeli Delegation in the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.

Georg Georgiev presented Ran Yaakoby with a copy of the book Bulgarian Jews: Living History, published by the Organization of the Jews in Bulgaria ‘Shalom’ in March 2018.

“With the colleagues, we discussed the upcoming initiatives of each country’s calendar, and with great pleasure I presented everything Bulgaria and the Bulgarian government have done so far on the subject of combating anti-Semitism and hate speech,” Georgiev said in a Facebook post.

(Main photo: President Roumen Radev with members of the Bulgarian Jewish community in Israel. Greeting Radev is Ino Itzhak, President of the Ehud Oley organisation of the community in Israel. Photo: president.bg)



The Sofia Globe staff

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