Israel was established 70 years ago. But June 25 will be the first time the Jewish state has ever been the destination for a British royal visit.
For 70 years, the British Royal family has boycotted Israel and so refused to officially come to terms with its very existence.
It isn’t that Israel has been completely overlooked. While Queen Elizabeth II, who has clocked more travel hours than any other British sovereign, has made a point never to step foot in Israel, her husband Prince Philip and her son Charles, the Prince of Wales, have come to Israel on private visits. Prince Charles attended the funerals of the late Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres on such “private” trips.
Now, on June 25, The Duke of Cambridge, Prince William is set to “make history” by becoming the first British royal family member to come to Israel on an official visit. That is, 70 years after Israel’s founding, the British royal family has finally decided to make its peace with the fact of Israel’s existence.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the visit when it was first announced in March. He called it “A historic visit.”
“He [William] will be received here with great enthusiasm,” Netanyahu promised.
Netanyahu should have curbed his enthusiasm.