Voice of the Jewish News: Our Prince has come
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Voice of the Jewish News: Our Prince has come

This week's editorial reflects on the historic Royal visit to the Middle East, a moment none of us will ever forget....

The Duke of Cambridge during a tech and young people event at the Beit HaÕir Museum in Tel Aviv, 

Photo credit: Chris Jackson/PA Wire
The Duke of Cambridge during a tech and young people event at the Beit HaÕir Museum in Tel Aviv, Photo credit: Chris Jackson/PA Wire

For Brits with an emotional connection to Israel, the sight of Prince William touching down at Ben Gurion Airport on the first official royal visit was a moment few of us will ever forget.

The significance can hardly be overstated. Beyond these shores, few of us realise the emotional pull of the British monarchy. In countries half of us couldn’t even place on a map, things come to a complete standstill for the entire day when a prince marries. Young and old gather together, glued to their TV screens, wearing Union Jack clothing. For William’s wedding, women in at least one eastern European capital wore T-shirts reading: “There’s still one prince left.”

Like his mother before him, William is big news. Where he goes, what he does, who he meets and what he says all matters. The symbolism, the status, the circus that follows him, it’s bigger than any head of state, with the possible exception of a US president. Actually, he’s probably bigger than Trump.

Like his father, the prince has taken the lessons of the Holocaust to heart, such that his visit to Yad Vashem was – to British Jews following his endeavours – a natural extension of his learning and interest.

He didn’t just visit Israel and meet Benjamin Netanyahu – he visited Jordan and the West Bank, met Mahmoud Abbas, played football with Jewish and Arab kids. His itinerary had balance, and so must he. A penny for his thoughts as he looked down onto the Old City from his King David Hotel balcony after a day’s handshaking, learning about the conflict.

A three-generation wait is now over. There has been an official royal visit to Israel, 70 years after Zionist leaders began their campaign for international legitimacy – one that often seems like it will never end. But in most battles there are turning points.

The prince’s visit may just be one.

 

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