The ministers of education of all the member countries of the European Union are expected to meet soon in Bulgaria to discuss the struggle against anti-Semitism, Bulgaria’s minister of education Professor Todor Tanev reported while speaking at a banquet on Monday evening, July 7, 2015, at the Rohr Chabad Jewish Community Center in Sofia, Bulgaria. The banquet was in honor of the dozens of Rabbanim from various countries and communities who had come to participate in the Young Rabbis’ Forum, all members of the RCE.

Participating in the banquet at the Rohr Chabad Jewish Community Center were the head of the ruling party, Deputy Prime Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov; Minister of Education Professor Todor Tanev; Deputy Chief Secretary of the Interior Mr. Georgi Kostov; Israel’s ambassador to Bulgaria Mr. Shaul Kamisa-Raz; and the leaders of many Jewish communities.

Minister of Education Professor Tanev pointed out that anti-Semitism has long been a serious problem in every European country, and it is not only a problem for the Jews: “Anti-Semitism is gaining momentum throughout Europe, and in order to stifle this phenomenon we must begin with the youth, by investing in its education and school curricula,” said Minister Tanev.

Mr. Tsvetan Tsvetanov, who is a deputy prime minister, described in great detail the shocking bus bombing in Burgas, which occurred three years earlier, and how the Bulgarian security forces, in close cooperation with Israeli and U.S. security forces, had discovered that Hezbollah was behind the attack.

Mr. Tsvetanov also praised Bulgaria’s Chief Rabbi and Chabad shaliach Rabbi Yosef Solomon, who also serves as the representative of Israel’s Chief Rabbinate in Bulgaria. He praised Rabbi Solomon for his active and extremely respectful participation in everything involved in dealing with those who were murdered and those who were injured in the attack. He also gratefully acknowledged the assistance of Israel’s ambassador to Bulgaria Mr. Shaul Kamisa-Raz. Mr. Tsvetanov ended his message with a promise to continue to stand by Bulgaria’s Jewish community and in particular to continue his support of Rabbi Solomon.

Deputy Interior Minister Mr. Kostov, who had said that he would be able to stay at the banquet for only a few minutes, actually remained for some two hours. In his message to the assembly, he promised to do everything possible to ensure the safety of Bulgaria’s Jews, and to increase security forces. He called upon the heads of police forces throughout Europe to do whatever is necessary to ensure the safety of every Jewish institution in Europe, so that Jews in Europe can live in peace and security.

Israel’s ambassador to Bulgaria Mr. Shaul Kamisa-Raz spoke enthusiastically of Rabbi Yosef Solomon’s involvement in everything related to Jewish life in Bulgaria and in his significant role in developing the Jewish community there.

Speaking on behalf of the RCE and of all the rabbis who participated in the Forum, RCE deputy director Rabbi Aryeh Goldberg praised Ambassador Shaul Kamisa-Raz, who has been an effective partner and is always willing to lend a helping hand in the activities of Bulgaria’s Jewish community. He also thanked the local government officials who have been very helpful to the Jewish community and to Rabbi Solomon.

Rabbi Yaakov Biderman, chairman of the Lauder University in Vienna and the Chabad shaliach there, spoke about how he had become familiar with Bulgaria many years ago, and how he has watched the tremendous growth of the Jewish community under the leadership of Rabbi Solomon and his wife.

In his closing remarks, Rabbi Yosef Solomon described with great emotion the early years of his shlichus and his work in Bulgaria, when all Jewish life there was kept secret, while today, baruch Hashem, there is a large, beautiful Jewish Community Center that is bustling with activity around the clock. He expressed his gratitude warmly to all those who participate in the wonderful community programs, and especially to the Rohr foundation.