Netanyahu thanks Bulgarian leader for defending Israel in E.U.


At a meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov , Netanyahu lauded the "wonderful friendship between Bulgaria and Israel," which he said "goes back many, many years."


Netanyahu thanked Borisov for Bulgaria's "efforts against antisemitism, and our common battle against radical Islam and the terrorism it espouses that claimed a tragic cost of lives, Israelis and Bulgarians, on the soil of Bulgaria," adding his appreciation for Bulgaria's "consistent defense of Israel in international forums, including in the E.U. It's time that all of Europe's leaders understood that Israel is the one that defends the interests, our common interests in the Middle East, both in terms of security and in many, many other ways."

Netanyahu noted that there is deep cooperation between Israel and Bulgaria in security matters as well as in the fields of health and technology.


Borisov addressed the American Jewish Committee's annual Global Forum, which was held in Israel for the first time. In addition to meeting with Netanyahu, Borisov met with President Reuven Rivlin and opposition leader Yitzhak Herzog.


As Bulgaria celebrates the 75th anniversary of the rescue of Bulgarian Jews, Borissov took part in the plenary session of the conference and met 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. "We will never forget how the people of Bulgaria laid on the train tracks and prevented the deportation of Jews in Sofia," Netanyahu stated.


"There is a human bridge of Bulgarian Jews who immigrated to Israel who have the warmest feelings towards Bulgaria, and they've contributed much to Israel," Netanyahu added. Borisov similarly met with a contingent of Bulgarian Jews living in Israel.


The Bulgarian delegation led by Borisov, included 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.