Family members of the Israelis killed in a terrorist bombing in Burgas last month left for Bulgaria to participate in remembrance ceremonies this week.
Among the bereaved heading to Burgas was Itzhak Shriki, who lost his two-month-pregnant wife Kochava. On the flight to Bulgaria Shriki showed vacationing passengers pictures of his late wife. "It is very hard to come back here, my stomach is upside down, but I knew that if I didn't come to the official remembrance ceremony I would regret it for the rest of my life," he told Israel Hayom.
Security presence at the airport was exceptionally high, Israeli groups were accompanied by a detachment of guards, including police canine units. "It is too bad they didn't do this last month," Shriki said.
The three day visit will include a meeting with the Bulgarian president, prime minister and minister of tourism. The visiting group will also be hosted at the Israeli Ambassador to Bulgaria Shaul Kamisa's residence in Sofia, and stop at the regional Chabad house. Two ceremonies will be held in Bulgaria, one in the largest synagogue in Sofia, which has prepared a curtain of the ark with the names of those killed, and another ceremony on Wednesday in Burgas.
Some of the bereaved families could not make it to the ceremony. The parents of Itzik Kolangi, 28, said they could not afford the $700 per ticket flight.
"We really wanted to go, but it would be a financial burden and emotional hardship on our parents," said Kolangi's sister Yael Maman.
"It is an awful feeling that all the families are going to be there and Itzik won't be represented. The Israeli ambassador in Bulgaria did everything he could, but they could not make it happen. We understand and have no complaints about it."