Prince William will visit Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum and meet with survivors, view soccer match with a joint team of Jewish and Arab players and meet Israeli hi-tech entrepreneurs as part of his trip next week to Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
The Duke of Cambridge will embark on the first official British royal visit to Israel as part of a regional tour which willl include include Jordan and the Palestinian autonomous areas as well.
William, the son of Prince Charles—Prince of Wales and Diana, Princess of Wales—will also pay a visit to the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
The Prince’s trip will begin Sunday in Jordan and on Monday he will land at Ben Gurion Airport where he will be greeted by Minister of Tourism Yariv Levin. His first evening in Israel will be spent resting at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem.
The Prince will visit Yad Vashem on Tuesday and lay a wreath at the Memorial Hall. In the afternoon he will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara at their official residence.
The prime minister’s son, Yair is also expected to attend the meeting. Afterwards, the prince will meet President Reuven Rivlin at the President’s Residence.
On Tuesday afternoon Prince William will travel to Jaffa "where he will meet with young people involved in the work of two organisations focused on co-existence between the young people of different religious and ethnic communities – the Equaliser and the Peres Centre for Peace," an official statement says.
He will arrive at a soccer event hosted by the two charities and will spend time with children and teenagers involved in several of their projects, including one focused on empowering young women.
His next stop will be a visit to central Tel Aviv together with Mayor Ron Huldai. He will also attend a reception at the British Embassy in Ramat Gan together with 350 guests. The event will be broadcast live on the BBC.
On Wednesday, William will visit the Beit Ha’ir Museum and meet with representatives of leading Israeli start-up companies and watch a presentation on Israeli innovation. He will also meet with young activists, both Jewish and Arab, who are involved with youth, education and social programs. He is also expected to attend a cultural event, which has yet to be announced, in the city as well and not leave before paying the beach a visit.
Visiting the “occupied Palestinian territories”
The Prince’s official schedule for Wednesday lists him going to the “occupied Palestinian territories.” William will visit Ramallah and meet Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
There, he will attend an event focusing on Palestinian refugees and "celebrate Palestinian culture, music and food; and a chance to meet a number of young Palestinians. Full details will be announced during the visit," the statement said.
At night he will deliver a speech at a reception at the home of the American Consul in Jerusalem.
Thursday’s schedule could cause controversy, with Kensington Palace announcing that the “programme in the Occupied Palestinian Territories will begin with a short briefing on the history and geography of Jerusalem's Old City from a viewing point at the Mount of Olives. From here His Royal Highness will travel a short distance to the Church of St Mary Magdalene where he will pay his respects at the tomb of his great-grandmother, Princess Alice.”
Princess Alice was recognized as "Righteous Among the Nations" by Yad Vashem for saving a Jewish-Greek family during the Holocaust.
Israel has expressed anger with the palace’s wording, believed to be formulated by the Foreign Office, known for its hostility toward Israel.
Israeli officials told their British counterparts that they “did not like that the bulletin referred to the old city as ‘occupied Palestinian territories,’ but out of desire for a successful visit, no crisis resulted from the matter."
Minister for Jerusalem Affairs Ze’ev Elkin did however publicly express official dissatisfaction to the British wording. “It is unfortunate that Britain chose to politicize the state visit. United Jerusalem has been the capital of Israel for 3,000 years and no distortion on the pages of the trip’s itinerary can change that fact. I expect the prince’s staff, who have stated all along that the trip will be apolitical, to reconsider and fix the distortion,” Elkin said.
The two official photographs of the visit will be from the Prince’s visit to the Western Wall and Yad Vashem. British sources insist that the wording of the itinerary is consistent with British official policy concerning east Jerusalem.
"Prince William wants to feel Israel and to get to know the Israelis, he wants to connect with the Israelis and really get to know them," an official said. "This is his first visit to Israel. He has a strong connection to the Jews, and many have told him: Go to Israel and feel Israel for yourself. Feel the creativity, the innovation. He wants to hear a different story and therefore he will meet with young people and hear about pluralism."
British Ambassador to Israel Mr. David Quarrey told reporters he hoped that the visit would "be a celebration of the modern relationship, the modern partnership between the UK and Israel."
"This is the first visit by a representative of the royal family, and I hope it will be a successful visit and a celebration of relations between Israel and Britain." Ambassador Quarrey noted that the prince's visit includes no political message because he is not a political figure. "He will be here to see a bit of the country, to meet some of the people here and also to get a flavor of Israel ... He really wants to get under the skin of the country."