By Mladen Dochev, published October 1, 2014
The mysterious attack in early August against Jacob Djerassi, one of the most active participants in the Steering Committee that was crucial for the return of former King, Simeon Saxe-Coburg, to Bulgaria in 2001, remained outside mainstream news. It was not discussed either by the victim or the Israeli Embassy, although Ambassador Shaul Kamisa Raz personally visited the victim in the private clinic where he was treated.
According to the scant information that is known in the case, Djerassi was attacked one late evening by four assailants in the city of Plovdiv, sprayed and stabbed twice in the hand. Local media say that for unknown reasons, the victim did not file a formal complaint in connection with the incident, which in turn is very strange, in a sense, in view of Djerassi’s good relations with Chief Prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov. A few months ago, he was awarded personally by the senior magistrate with the Honorary Sign of the Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Bulgaria. Jacob Djerassi is a Bulgarian Jew whose family emigrated from Bulgaria back in the distant 1949. He later lived and worked in Israel and the United States, and served as spokesman for the Israeli army.
Over the past two decades, he has resided and worked mainly in Sofia. He is Deputy Director of the Israeli-Bulgarian Institute and Executive Director of the Foundation “Bulgaria International”, which deals with publishing and charity. It was created in 1993 with the primary purpose to work for the return to the country of former Bulgarian King Simeon II. After 2001, the Foundation started to develop additional activities, among them charitable funding of theater performances and donations to hospitals. In publishing, it is best known for books mostly on topics related to the rescue of Bulgarian Jews during World War II and to the activities of the Israeli secret service Mossad.
Djerassi is also known to have good contacts with influential political and business factors in Bulgaria, Israel, USA and Europe. He is not hiding his lobbying activities and even advocates positions that support the legal regulation of lobbying in our country.
Under the patronage of former President Petar Stoyanov, Djerassi published in Bulgarian the book “Mossad -the Greatest Missions of the Israeli Secret Service”. It follows the landmark operations in the history of Israeli intelligence and contains both studies of authors Prof Michael Bar-Zohar and Prof Nissim Mishal and interviews with Israeli leaders and Mossad agents. Israeli Professor Bar-Zohar, also born in Sofia, is the author of the extensive study “Beyond Hitler’s Grip”, dedicated to the rescue of Bulgarian Jews, which was also published in Bulgaria with the support of Foundation “Bulgaria International”. Like Djerassi, Bar-Zohar, himself, is quite an interesting person – former advisor and official biographer of the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, and of ex-President Shimon Peres. He has a bright presence in Israeli politics and journalism and has been a two-term member of the Knesset.
Jacob Djerassi is among the few who defended shady businessman and lawmaker Delian Peevski during last year’s turbulent events surrounding the latter’s appointment by the Parliament to head the National Security Agency (DANS). Djerassi also stood behind Emil Ivanov, Regional Governor of Sofia on the ticket of the party largely representing the Turkish minority in Bulgaria – the Movement for Rights and Freedoms DPS and former member of one of the two largest organized crime groups in Bulgaria in the 90s of the last century and behind Roma Member of the Parliament known as “Brother” Sally. In connection with the so-called “Operation Shipka”, related to the preparation and realization of the return of the former King in Bulgaria and in Bulgarian political life, in the last few years, in a series of interviews, Djerassi revealed details of Simeon’s contacts with General Luben Gotzev, with former Ombudsman Ginio Ganev and other Bulgarian politicians. He further revealed that there has been an idea to organize a meeting between Simeon Saxe-Coburg and former Communist dictator, Todor Zhivkov nicknamed Tato (Daddy). According to Djerassi, there has also been an arrangement to have Tato’s granddaughter to lead the ballot of Simeon’s party in the general elections in the summer of 2001, which the party ultimately won.
Uncertainties about the reasons for the attack persist due to lack of a formal investigation and of statements made by the concerned individual, but from the “signature” of the mercenaries it seems that they were a group of professional thugs, whose purpose was to intimidate the victim.
This post is also available in: Bulgarian