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The Embassy of Bulgaria in Israel held a stirring concert in tribute to the National Day of Bulgaria on Monday evening in Tel Aviv. The evening was held at the Eretz Israel museum, and began with a cocktail reception for diplomats and civil society leaders, before a unique concert featuring musicians from Bulgaria and music from all over the world.


Ambassador Rumiana Bachvarova opened the evening with a speech welcoming guests and noting the strong cooperation between Israel and Bulgaria. Ambassador Bachvarova noted that Bulgaria’s national day doesn’t just commemorate “the end of the battle between the great powers,” but more importantly it marks a beginning: “the creation of the new Bulgarian state and the realization of its independence.”


The Ambassador noted the strong link to Jews in Bulgarian society: “The Bulgarian nation was formed based on the principles of freedom, democracy, tolerance between people and ethnic groups. Among its most progressive part were the Bulgarian Jews, who took an active part in the building of the new state and were its defenders in the subsequent battles and wars side by side with the Bulgarians.” The Ambassador also highlighted the courageous efforts by Bulgarian citizens, as well as Orthodox Church and opposition leaders, to stop the deportation of Bulgarian Jews during World War II, ultimately saving the lives of 48,000 Bulgarian Jews.


Ambassador Gil Haskel, chief of state protocol in the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and former director of Mashav, spoke on behalf of the government of Israel. Ambassador Haskel noted that “The National Day of Bulgaria marks the nation's liberation and its freedom after many years of repression. The Jewish people also share the experience of a national rebirth after ages without political sovereignty”, and thanked the people of Bulgaria for their stand to save Bulgarian Jewry during the Holocaust, as well as strong support of Israel to today. In closing he offered a toast to the best wishes of both nations.


Following the speeches, the guests entered Klatchkin Auditorium, to enjoy a unique concert. The national anthems of Bulgaria and Israel were first sung by Diana Guglina and Ilia Yosifov. A moment of silence was then called for those suffering in Ukraine. Following that, the concert began, with Diana Guglina and Ilia Yosifov alternating on the stage to perform operatic pieces in several languages from all over the world. The world acclaimed violinist Vasko Vasilev then took the stage, performing together with Vivi Vassileva & Lucas Campara Diniz. The trio performed traditional Bulgarian songs, along with pieces by Gershwin, and music from all over Latin America. The experience was lively and eclectic, bringing flavors of numerous genres to the delighted audience.


In attendance at the event were H.E. Rumiana Bachvarova, Ambassador of Bulgaria in Israel; Israeli ambassador to Bulgaria H.E. Yoram Elron, Ambassador H.E. Gil Haskel, chief of state protocol in the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Ambassador H.E. Dimiter Tzantchev, Permanent representative of the Republic of Bulgaria to the European Union; The Honorary Consul of Bulgaria in Israel, Bulgarian-born Moni S. Barr; former Ambassador of Israel to Bulgaria, H.E. David Cohen; Itzhak Lipovetzky, President of the Israel-Bulgaria Friendship association; Mr. Boaz Waksman, Chairman of Ophir Tours, Stephen Abrahams, from the Ministry of National Infrastructures Energy and Water Resources, and many more distinguished guests.


Diplomacy.co.il offers best wishes to the embassy and nation of Bulgaria on their national day.

Steven Aiello
Photos credit Silvia G. Golan 

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