Prince Charles has hailed the “Israeli geniuses maintaining the entire structure of the NHS” at a reception hosted by the Britain’s ambassador.
The heir to the throne met innovators, cultural figures and business leaders from across Israeli society at the event to which guests were invited “come rain or shine”. In the end, hundreds of guests packed into every corner of the residence’s garden where a specially-erected structure kept guests dry as they clamoured to shake the Royal’s hand.
After a sombre day dominated by remembrance of the Shoah, Charles showed a light touch that delighted the gathering at the end of the final day of his first official tour.
“It’s been fascinating to hear about so many of the cooperative ventures that are taking place between both our countries,” he said. “From what I gather it sounds as though Israeli geniuses are maintaining the entire structure of the NHS, along with a great deal other remarkable technology developments.” A large percentage of medicines used in the NHS originate in Israel, while the Jewish state is also at the cutting edge of medical advances.
He also pointed to the defence and security cooperation between the two countries and said: “I feel a particular closeness not only because I am the same age as the state of Israel – having been born in 1948 – but also the fact my grandmother is buried on the Mount of Olives.”
He drew the biggest applause of the night as he thanked guests for their warm welcome and added: “Thank you for your very kind welcome and it was particularly encouraging to hear one person say that they thought certain things about the British mandate weren’t too bad after all.”
Professor at Technion – Israel Institute of Technology – who specialises in nanotechnology applications in medicine.
He had brought a prototype of his Sniff Phone – which analyses a persons breath to detect a range of illnesses.
Professor Haick told Charles, as the engineer and scientist held the device, slightly larger than a mobile phone: “Every disease has a unique finger print of chemicals.
“It analyses breath and detect 17 different types of disease from cancers to neuro-degenerative diseases.”
Another innovative piece of technology shown to the heir to the throne was a machine that produces water from moisture in the air.
Michael Rutman from Watergen, the company behind the water cooler sized device, offered Charles a glass of water from the machine which comes in an industrial version that can be taken to remote areas.
Rutman said: “He liked it, he said it tasted good. This machine can save lives as it can run off solar panels and provide water in communities which don’t have a fresh supply.”
Ambassador Neil Wigan, who welcomed Charles to the reception, spoke of the honour of welcoming HRH so soon after the visit of Prince William. He also reiterated the government’s commitment to Holocaust education including building a new Memorial and learning centre next to Parliament.
Among the guests at the event were Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick, Lord Pickles, who is leading the memorial project with Ed Balls, and the government’s antisemitism adviser Lord Mann along with Board of Deputies president Marie van der Zyl.
Lord Polak, who had previously described the lack of an official Royal visit as a “stain on relations”, said: “This and the visit of Prince William are the culmination of many people pushing for fully normalised relations and that meant a royal visit. This will help cement relations.”
Earlier, Charles was shown round the section of the Israel Museum that house the Dead Sea scrolls.
The Chief Rabbi said: “The Jews are called the people of the book, which is why we preserve these items for all of mankind. Even though the Nazis were responsible for destroying countless other materials the work here is helping this history to live on.”
The Prince of Wales said: “It’s absolutely remarkable these methods of preservation have been upheld and it’s such important work which is just so vital.”
The scrolls were discovered at Qumran, a national park located just 40 miles outside Jerusalem.
The discovery is recognised as the earliest known written examples of the biblical texts.