Bulgaria’s ambassador to Israel Slavena Gergova said on October 11 that people should not travel to Israel for at least the next 10 days, until it is clear how the war is developing.
Gergova, speaking to Bulgarian National Television against the background of the Hamas terrorist group’s large-scale attack on Israel, said that there was no further government aircraft flight planned to evacuate Bulgarian citizens, because there was no need at the moment. Soon after Hamas’s attack began on October 7, the Bulgarian government sent two flights to evacuate people – Bulgarian citizens and nationals of other countries.
Currently, there are two options for leaving Israel, both for Bulgarian citizens and for other foreign citizens, Gergova said.
One is through Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, which is continuing to operate, albeit with a limited number of flights.
There are airlines that have stopped flying to and from Israel. There are also companies that have increased the number of their flights in order to enable foreign nationals to leave Israel, on the one hand, and Israeli citizens abroad to return to their homeland, on the other.
The second way to leave the country is from the Haifa port. There is a working ferry line there, which sails from Haifa to Lanarca in Cyprus, Gergova said.
Gergova said that no distinction was made between Bulgarian citizens who had dual nationality and those who solely had Bulgarian citizenship.
“Bulgarian citizens are such for the Bulgarian state, regardless of whether they also have another citizenship,” she said.
“The way we try to prioritise citizens is based on whether they are short-term or long-term residents.”
Gergova said that the reason is that people who were in Israel a shorter period have a limited budget, money for hotel nights and meals for example for a certain number of days and only have medical insurance for a certain period.
“These people are a priority, they have nowhere to stay in Israel. The second group of people are the permanent residents of Israel. They have a home, a job, and their evacuation does not have the same urgency as the short-term residents,” she said.
Gergova said that no evacuation of permanent residents who were nationals of any European Union country had begun.
She called on the long-term resident Bulgarians in Israel to register and send their data to the embassy in order to have a real idea of how many Bulgarian citizens were there.
(Photo: Andrew Shiva)
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