William arrived in Israel from Jordan on Monday evening without his wife Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, who gave birth to their third child two months ago.
Prince William began the second full day of his historic royal visit to Israel on Wednesday by strolling down Tel Aviv’s trendy Rothschild Boulevard and meeting young artists and entrepreneurs in Israel’s cultural and financial capital.
Prince William noted that his own great-grandmother, Princess Alice of Battenberg is recognized by Yad Vashem as a Righteous Among the Nations for sheltering a Greek Jewish family in Athens during World War II.
The Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis joined William for his visit and took part in a simple but moving ceremony in the museum’s Hall of Remembrance where the duke laid a wreath in commemoration of the Holocaust victims and rekindled the eternal flame.
Asked why the royal family decided it was time to visit this region now, Hall said that all three governments had “been happy to issue an invitation, and the Duke, at this stage of his career, was ready and able to engage in such a high profile trip”.
Traffic in central Tel Aviv came to a standstill Wednesday morning when Prince William took a walk on the city’s famed Rothschild Boulevard with Israeli Eurovision victor Netta Barzilai. In mid-1942, the elder Foner told his son in a final letter delivered through the Red Cross: “Our destiny is very uncertain”.
Later on, the Duke of Cambridge met with President Reuven Rivlin who said it was a “great pleasure and honour” to welcome the Duke to Israel. “She is very upset that I am coming here without her”, he said, according to British media.
With Israeli striker Tomer Hemed, who plays for Premier League club Brighton, also watching, the second in line to the throne joked: “I’m a defender – it’s going to go up there in that tree somewhere”.
After a brief opening greeting in Hebrew, he added: “Israel’s remarkable story is partly one of remembering its awful past but also looking forward to a much more hopeful future”.
Earlier the duke had paid a visit to the official residence of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who spoke of the importance of William’s presence in Israel. “It was as if he knew us, he knew the background and he made us feel so at home”.
The Western Wall – the holiest site in Judaism – lies in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, the sector the Palestinians want as capital of their future state, whilst simultaneously the Jewish State claims the whole city as its undivided capital.
The Duke of Cambridge is the first British royal to make an official trip to Israel and Palestinian territories – 70 years after British forces withdrew from the holy land.
“I’m really looking forward to getting to meet as many Israelis as possible and understand Israeli history and Israeli culture”, the prince said.
After the meeting, William visited Palestinian refugee camp Jalazone, touring a UN-run health clinic in the encampment near the West Bank city of Ramallah.
“We love William”, a clutch of female tourists, standing among a cheering crowd held back by barriers, shouted at the 36-year-old prince.
He was hosted by Crown Prince Hussein, 23, a member of the Hashemite dynasty Britain helped install in then-Transjordan nearly a century ago.