A Key Moment in the Tour

Prince William’s tour of parts of the Middle East this week was a busy one – much was crammed into a fairly short period of time. But a number of key points have emerged.

First, this visit brought to an end a 70-year stand-off in which British support for the Arab peoples had prevented any official visit to Israel by a member of the Royal Family.

Second, William’s visit dealt a significant blow to the efforts of all who seek to deny the legitimacy of the State of Israel. He met Israel’s President, Prime Minister and the Western Wall chief Rabbi in clear recognition of leaders of both state and religion.

William’s visit also dealt a significant blow to extremists who deny the reality of the Holocaust. His words written in the guest book at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial were deeply moving.

The tour itinerary achieved a delicate balance between the interests of Jews and Arabs alike, with William being granted access to places that few prominent Westerners visit, including the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. As elsewhere, his conduct there seemed to please his hosts.

Yet one stage of the visit stands out as a key moment in the relationship between two nations. Accompanied by the British Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, William visited the Western Wall, pausing there to pray, and prompting the Rabbi to say afterwards:

“Today we experienced a moment of history which
will live long in the memory of Jews around the world.”

That visit to the Western Wall was covered by Israeli new channel i24 and the accompanying commentary gives an interesting insight into Israeli thoughts about the tour.