On the 22nd of October, President Rosen Plevneliev of Bulgaria planted an olive tree in Jerusalem’s Grove of Nations, adjacent to existing trees planted there by heads of state from all over the world.
“This tree we have planted today will be a symbol of friendship between the nations, and it will grow and flourish just like the friendship between us,” declared the Bulgarian President. The existence of the Grove of Nations is, he said, no mere chance, “because it is only together that we can we create a better world.”
On the relationship between the two countries, President Plevneliev said: “Bulgaria and Israel have a special bond, and history and the test of time have transformed that bond into a genuine friendship.”
When the appreciatory plaque was unveiled, the president was able to get an impression of the other leaders whose names appear beside his. “I know some of these guys,” he said with a broad smile.
The Bulgarian President came with his entourage to the planting ceremony directly after his visit to Yad VaShem, which perpetuates the memory of the victims of the Holocaust, and KKL-JNF Deputy Chairman Menachem Leibovic mentioned this fact in his speech:
“You represent the entire Bulgarian nation, whom we, the Jewish People, thank for having saved Jews at the time of the Holocaust. It is an honor to stand at your side as you plant a tree below Yad VaShem,” he told President Plevneliev.
Leibovic told those present that there is plenty of scope for cooperation between Bulgaria and Israel, and added: “I know that Bulgaria is a beautiful country with many superb forests, and I’m sure we have a great deal to learn from you.”
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