by Yossi Lempkowicz
Bulgaria’s Prime Minister Boyko Borissov and a contingent of other leaders from the country began a three-day visit to Israel on Tuesday.
First, in Jerusalem, he addressed the American Jewish Committee’s annual Global Forum, which is being held in Israel for the first time.
On Wednesday, Borissov meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin and opposition leader Yitzhak Herzog.
They are expected to review bilateral relations in areas of mutual interest, including in the area of security and the fight against terrorism, and exchange views on international and regional issues, according to a Bulgarian government press service.
When they get to Tel Aviv, the group will meet the Bulgarian community.
As Bulgaria celebrates the 75th anniversary of the rescue of Bulgarian Jews, Borissov will take part in the plenary session of the conference and meet with the president of the World Jewish Congress, Ronald S. Lauder. Bulgaria was one of the few countries in Europe that saved its Jews—48,000 of them—during World War II.
Netanyahu noted back in March that Israel has a special relationship with Bulgaria, as part of talks with visiting Bulgarian President Roumen Radev. He said the country would never forget how Bulgarians defended the Jews 75 years ago.
What happened was proof of the humanity and morality of the Bulgarian people, said Netanyahu.
The excellent bilateral relations between Bulgaria and Israel could be deepened and developed in a number of sectors, he said, noting the importance of technology development and expressing willingness to co-operate in this area.
The Bulgarian delegation led by Borissov includes Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Donchev, Minister of Education and Science Krasimir Valchev, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and National Anti-Semitism Coordinator Georg Georgiev, as well as Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova.
On Thursday, Borissov is scheduled to travel to Ramallah for talks with Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah.