Prince Charles hails Israeli tech on first official visit to Israel

What happened: HRH Charles, Prince of Wales, hailed Israel’s technological prowess as he visited the country on Thursday for the fifth World Holocaust Forum that coincided with the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau.

  • Prince Charles attended a reception at the UK Ambassador to Israel, Neil Wigan’s, residence in Ramat Gan yesterday evening. He met a range of scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs and said: “It seems to me like Israeli genius is maintaining the entire structure of the NHS, along with a great deal of other technology”.
  • Charles was shown some Israeli inventions, including the Sniff Phone, an electronic nose that can detect diseases from exhaled breath, and sustainability projects like the HomeBiogas, a device to produce natural gas from home waste, and the Watergen filtration system, which draw waters from humidity in the air. He described the projects as “remarkable technology developments and ingenious inventions”.
  • Prince Charles met with President Reuven Rivlin on Thursday morning at the President’s Residence. The two leaders planted an English oak tree together in the garden of the residence as the President thanked Prince Charles for his commitment in the fight against antisemitism.
  • Speaking at the main ceremony at Yad Vashem, Prince Charles said he had long drawn inspiration from his grandmother, Princess Alice of Greece, who in Nazi-occupied Athens in 1943 saved a Jewish family by taking them into her home and hiding them. He also praised Israel as a refuge for many survivors, saying “it is of particular significance that we should gather here, in Israel, where so many of those who survived the Holocaust sought and found refuge, and built a new future for themselves and this country”.

The World Holocaust Forum: Other guest speakers included Russian President Vladimir Putin, US Vice President Mike Pence, French President Emmanuel Macron, and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

  • Putin called the Holocaust “one of the most terrible chapters of human history” and said remembering it “is our shared responsibility to the past and the future”. The Russian President said the Nazi regime: “Had accomplices whose cruelty often surpassed that of their masters.” Putin said that :“The concentration camps were operated not just by the Nazis but by their henchmen … from many European countries”.
  • German President Steinmeier said that his nation had not fully learned the lessons of the Holocaust, as antisemitism is growing once again. The situation in Germany is not the same as that of the Nazi era Steinmeier said, before adding: “The words are not the same. The perpetrators are not the same But it is the same evil … and there remains only one answer: Never again! Nie wieder! That is why there cannot be an end to remembrance.”
  • Vice President Pence recalled his visit to Auschwitz last year and said: “One cannot walk the grounds of Auschwitz without being overcome with emotion and grief. One cannot see the piles of shoes, the gas chambers, the crematoriums, the lone box car facing the gates of the camp … without asking, ‘How could they?’”.
  • Pence said that those attending the ceremony were not only commemorating the Holocaust but also marking the “triumph of freedom … a people restored to their rightful place among the nations of the earth.” He echoed the message of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech by calling for the world to unite against growing antisemitism around the globe, singling out Iran.
  • Macron praised world leaders for coming together to remember the Holocaust and said: “Can one have even imagined this happening nowadays? For us to be so united in remembrance?” This is not just history that one can read this way or another. No, there is truth and history with evidence. Let us not be confused between these things.”

Macron drew a more serious note when he warned that antisemitism and xenophobia had returned to parts of the political discourse. In the face of the new antisemitism, he said: “We will not allow ourselves to stand by in silence because we promise to remember and to take steps. Remember, never forget.

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