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July 24, 2012 7:21 pm

Israelis Establish Honorary Consulate In Burgas, Pledge to Continue Visiting Without Fear

avatar by Atara Arbesfeld

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Israeli Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov. Photo: Michael Feigin.

According to Sofia News Agency Novinite, Israel plans to open an honorary consulate in Burgas, Bulgaria. The decision was announced on Tuesday by Burgas Mayor Dimitar Nikolov at a memorial ceremony for the fallen victims of the recent terror attack which claimed the lives of five Israelis as well as a Bulgarian bus driver.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borisov said that Israelis would always be welcomed in Bulgaria with open arms. “Israeli tourists are important for us, not just for economic reasons, but because for them Bulgaria is like a second home country – they feel good here,” said Borisov.

Meanwhile, Israeli Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov visited Sofia on Monday to meet with Bulgarian officials and Jewish communal leaders, assuring that the recent attack would not discourage Israelis from visiting Bulgaria. “After what happened in Burgas, we will continue to travel as tourists – in Israel and in Bulgaria and wherever else we wish,” affirmed Misezhnikov. “We will not reward the terrorist act. We will not react to it with fear.”

Last year, an estimated 135,000 Israelis travelled to Bulgaria. Though the number of Israeli tourists was projected to increase, reports in the Israeli media indicated that there were cancellations in response to the bombing in Burgas.

Reiterating allegations made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Misezhnikov blamed the Burgas bombing on Iran and its terror proxies. “This is the common enemy of all countries which fight for freedom worldwide, and we must confront this enemy together,” he vowed.

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