A friend in need is a friend indeed – as the well-worn saying goes. Unfortunately in these hectic times there are not too many nations that we can call our true friends, but here and there we discover distant glimmers proving after all that we are not alone.

Bulgaria doesn’t have to search for validation – we all remember their staunch commitment during World War II to rescue as many Jews as possible from the Nazi annihilation process. As a matter of fact, Bulgaria was the only nation where from the monarch down almost everyone was engaged in the rescue work. The rock-solid community of Bulgarian Jews living now in Israel bears witness to this humane effort.

This empathy between Bulgaria and Israel continued over the years, ever since the Jewish state came into existence. It is therefore encouraging, but not entirely surprising that the Bulgarian foreign minister, Nikolai Mladenov, currently visiting Israel expresses a supportive view of Israel’s managing the “flotilla affair”, stating that the Western European countries don’t have real first-hand experience with massive terrorism unlike Israel, which, in his view is probably the reason why they cannot understand what Israel has to cope with on a day-to-day basis. Since he has served in Iraq commissioned by the UN and has experienced suicide bombings and other terrorists acts, he certainly knows what he is talking about. He is also somewhat critical of the Turkish government, saying that “they probably went too far”.

The spas and the golden sandy beaches of Bulgaria are very tourist-friendly. It would be a mutually enjoyable way to keep up the good relationship by directing the flow of tourism instead of the now “dry” Turkish Riviera to the shores of the Black Sea. How about showing a little gratitude to those who stand by us in good and in bad times alike?