Prince William of Great Britain meets Sara Netanyahu and her husband, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Credit: PMO, via Twitter.)

Prince William has made history as the first member of the British royal family to visit Israel.

The prince’s arrival in Tel Aviv early on Monday evening marked the first-ever official visit by a member of the royal family since 1948, when the British Mandate ended and the State of Israel was established. The prince, the second in line to the British throne, is due to stay in the country till his return to the UK on Thursday.

Although his father and grandfather both flew to Israel, neither came in an official capacity. This time, the prince was received by the Israeli president Reuben Rivlin, the prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and spoke at the residence of the UK’s ambassador to Israel, David Quarrey, telling the crowd, “Tomorrow I will meet more young people from around the country, working on the environment, mental health and helping the less fortunate. These young people are painting a bright future for Israel.”

 

After meeting with Israel’s leaders, the prince opened his visit by paying tribute to the millions who perished in the Holocaust at Yad Vashem, the national memorial site and museum dedicated to the horrors of the genocide inflicted on Europe’s Jews. When visiting the prime minister’s residence, the Duke of Cambridge met Edith and Phillipe Cohen, two descendants of people sheltered by Princess Alice, the Duke’s great-grandmother, during the Holocaust. For her bravery and kindness, Princess Alice was recognized by Yad Vashem as being one of the “Righteous Among the Nations” who acted in a spirit of solidarity and humanity.

Also known as the Duke of Cambridge, Prince William’s three-day stay has been designed to be a mix of rich historical symbolism and an attempt to get beneath the politics and meet the people of Israel, seeing their lives and getting to hear their thoughts.

William is slated to visit the Western Wall, adjacent to the Temple Mount later on this tour, and has already met with Israeli pop star and 2018 Eurovision winner Netta in central Tel Aviv.

https://twitter.com/KensingtonRoyal/status/1011900410121072641


(The Prince meets with Israeli pop hero Netta Barzilai. Credit: Twitter, Kensington Royal)

 

With the World Cup in full swing, the prince has warmed to the theme, playing beach soccer in Tel Aviv and meeting with surfers there, and travelled to Haifa to see a game organized by the The Equalizer and the Peres Center for Peace in which Jewish, Christian and Muslim kids played together.