Alan Baker, Daniel Shek, Fleur Hassan-Nahoum
BICOM asked key Israeli diplomatic and political figures with a connection to the UK to summaries their thoughts of the Royal visit. Here is what they told us:
Alan Baker, Former Israeli Ambassador to Canada
The visit of Prince William, formally representing the Royal Family, and coming during the 70th anniversary of Israel and immediately after the centenary of the Balfour Declaration, is a timely event of historic significance. In light of the complex history of Anglo-Israeli relations, and the warm bilateral relationship between the UK and Israel, such a royal visit should have taken place years ago. It is to be hoped that the visit will not be marred by British political over-correctness and over-sensitivity to the whims of the Palestinians. There should be no connection or linkage between the royal visit to Israel and the visit to other entities in the neighbourhood. In light of the long history of our bilateral relationship Israel deserves the full respect and high regard of the British royal family, without this being diluted or compromised.
Daniel Shek, Former Israeli Ambassador to France
With such a long and rich history of UK-Israel relations, an official visit by a member of the royal family was a long overdue missing link. Clearly, the fact that the British Monarchy was reluctant to step into the complicated minefield of Middle Eastern conflicts and diplomacy in no way stopped our relations from flourishing. Israel and the UK are allies in many ways, with shared values and numerous common interests and joint struggles. But even if this is a mostly symbolic gesture, symbols do count and as Israel celebrates its 70th anniversary and anti-Zionism and BDS are becoming more vocal in some British circles, this simple gesture of recognition by the Crown is not without significance. Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge is a most welcome guest in our country and we wish him a pleasant and enriching visit.
Fleur Hassan-Nahoum, Jerusalem City Councillor (on the Victoria Derbyshire programme)
We have really come full circle. Before 1948, there was a British mandate here. Now we have, for the first time ever, an official visit. It really does close the circle for Israel. More than a PR stunt, it’s actually the beginning of what could be a really interesting join strategy for trade. Jerusalem can actually be a fantastic lab for what peace looks like. I’m hoping that Prince William can understand that what we manage to fix in Jerusalem can be used to fix the whole region and he sees Jerusalem as the beauty of diversity.
Sharren Haskel MK, Likud
I would like to express my excitement for your visit to Israel. Our countries have a long history of working together dating back to Israel’s inception, and this historic visit demonstrates the strength of this relationship today. Moreover, I am encouraged by the support the United Kingdom has shown Israel on the international stage, as well as the recent growth in military cooperation and trade between our countries. I look forward to continuing to expand upon these ties and grow our relationship. I welcome you to Israel and wish you all the best in your travels.