JERUSALEM (Aug. 12)
Shulamit Shamir, the wife of Deputy Premier Yitzhak Shamir, has been officially invited to visit her native country, Bulgaria. Although she was formally invited by Yosef Astrokoff, the head of the Jewish community in Sofia, the move was seen here as another step by Soviet Bloc countries to normalize relations with Israel. Poland and Hungary have also sent signals, and Israel and the Soviet Union are to hold consular talks next week in Helsinki.
The invitation to Shulamit Shamir was passed on to Jerusalem by the Bulgarian Mission to the United Nations in New York. It is the first time an Israeli personality has been invited to Bulgaria since that country severed diplomatic relations with Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War. Israeli officials assume the invitation received Soviet approval.
The invitation was initiated last October when Yitzhak Shamir, in his capacity as Foreign Minister, met with Bulgarian Foreign Minister Peter Mladenov during a session of the UN General Assembly. Mladenov reportedly suggested that Shamir’s wife visit her native country. The visit is to take place within the next few weeks.
Shulamit Shamir was overjoyed at the invitation. “A dream of years has materialized,” she said. “I have always dreamed of returning there.” She left Bulgaria when she was 17, before the Nazi occupation.