High technology, agriculture, tourism (winter, cultural and spa) are the areas in which Bulgaria and Israel have traditionally good relations, as well as serious potential for development - Rumiana Bachvarova, Ambassador of our country in Tel Aviv, said in an interview for Radio Bulgaria. Gratitude is the word used to describe the attitude of the people of Israel towards Bulgaria, she added.
The two accents of the 17th World Meeting of Bulgarian Media, which is taking place in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, are the salvation of Bulgarian Jews during World War 2 and the problems of the media.
Prior to the start of the discussions, the Bulgarian delegation paid tribute to the Memorial of Salvation in Tel Aviv, and a day earlier - to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem.
"They express it not only with their words, but also with their extremely positive attitude towards everyone who is from Bulgaria. Random people, even those with no direct connection to Bulgaria, when they find out we are Bulgarian, thank us for saving our Jews. And this is an attitude that I think we have to learn as well. We need to see how much the people here appreciate us, and we need to also value ourselves. This is important in order to have the strength and the courage to continue with the good works."
The personal contacts and trust between people and businesses, as well as the support the two countries give each other at the international level, testify to the traditionally very good bilateral relations. "Covid-19 has simply stopped for two years what could have been in terms of cooperation between the two countries," Ambassador Bachvarova said, highlighting efforts to maintain contacts, exchange health information related to the pandemic, and cooperation at government level by airport authorities on both sides to ensure that flights between Bulgaria and Israel are not halted.
Regarding the potential for future development, Rumyana Bachvarova highlighted high technology:
"The biggest potential lies in connecting Israeli innovative and high-tech enterprises with Bulgarian enterprises, which are currently not as well developed compared to Israel. There are many exhibitions and forums here, so we help representatives from Bulgaria to come and make contact. There are a lot of opportunities and it makes sense to develop relations in this direction - this is the future of industry and other sectors, including relations at the level of people, business, governments."
The other area is trade, but imports of products from Bulgaria are difficult due to the requirement for kosher food. "There are certified Bulgarian importers, but not enough yet," Bachvarova said. She said Israel currently produces more agricultural produce than Bulgaria and is very active on European markets, including with seedlings, herbs and more.
Another sector with great potential is tourism.
"Cooperation can be expanded even more so that more Bulgarians can come here, although it is a bit expensive for them. At the same time, Israelis are interested in Bulgaria, looking for experiences such as skiing and spa tourism. They are very keen on cultural tourism. People here are curious - in a good way - always wanting to learn more. And that's something Bulgaria has to offer."
Interview and photos by: Krassimir Martinov
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