Some media reports indicated your daughter was on that bus at Burgas Airport. How could they report such a thing, as you repeatedly said your children are not in the country at the moment?
I have no idea. At a time of such a large-scale act of terrorism people get confused and the media start to make wild guesses. It is true that a nephew of mine was in Burgas a few weeks before the incident, but he has long left. Maybe someone found a name similar to mine on a list somewhere and made up the story.
Also, it is important to note that one of the aims of terrorism is to create as much havoc and confusion as possible, in order to impede the organs of the state and to create panic and fear in the citizens.
It has become a platitude that no one and no country is immune from terrorism. Yet some seem to be more prone to become victims than others. Where would you put Bulgaria?
Israel is considered to be a world power in security and counterterrorism. Regrettably, this is largely due to the fact that we have had to live through many terrorist incidents. We have created the technology that significantly enhances the sense of security. However, there is no such thing as total security.
It is important to stress that acts of terrorism are not directed at Israel and Israeli interests only, but there is no doubt that Iran, Hizballah, Islamic Jihad and Al-Qaeda create an integrated kind of terrorism that is directed mainly at Israel. Iran is the only state in the world which openly proclaims the destruction of all Jews and the State of Israel.
But as Jews and Israelis live throughout the world, the whole world is under threat. Therefore, all states must cooperate in the three main areas of counterterrorism: intelligence, prevention and destruction of terrorist networks and facilities.
I think that Bulgaria will emerge a lot stronger from this terrorist act. It needs to because, sadly, terrorists tend to return to places where they have conducted a successful attack.
One thing not related directly to terrorism that Bulgaria will have to handle is a possible anti-Muslim backlash in the wake of the terror attack. Bulgaria has a large Muslim minority that is in no way responsible for the work of the extremists in Burgas. I have a very good relationship with the Office of the Chief Mufti in Bulgaria. Whenever I pass by the mosque I stop and say hello to people. I also enter some Arab shops and I have never felt any animosity. The Bulgarian Muslims, who are mainly Turks, are very moderate. Having said that, I wouldn't rule out the existence of extremist elements in Bulgaria as well, most likely not Bulgarian citizens, who might be able to resort to extremist activities. I do hope that the Bulgarian police and security services will handle any such threats.
What is important under the circumstances is that the Bulgarian government and the general public must be very careful not to allow the stigmatisation of any ethnic group inside Bulgaria.
70 years ago, on 10 March 1943, Bulgaria's pro-Nazi government decided to defy Berlin and halt the deportation of Bulgaria's 50.000 Jews. This was down to the actions of one man - Dimitar Peshev. Just two years later he faced Communist justice and found himself on trial for his life. His niece Kaluda Kiradjieva remembers