An open royal letter

To His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge.

Prince William vists the Old City of Jerusalem, June 28, 2018 (photo credit: TALI GILBERG)
Prince William vists the Old City of Jerusalem, June 28, 2018
(photo credit: TALI GILBERG)
To His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge,
We are so very glad you came on a state visit this week. It has been a long time coming, we don’t have to tell you, to finally get to host a member of the royal family and see one visit the 70-year-old Jewish state.
It was a special honor.
There’s an expression in Hebrew, hakarat hatov, which means the recognition of good, an acknowledgment of gratitude.
We Jews remember, and we acknowledge with deep gratitude to the British people, the letter sent on November 2, 1917, by British foreign secretary Arthur James Balfour to Baron Rothschild expressing British support for “a national home for the Jewish people;” and we also give honor to you as a descendant of a Righteous Among the Nations, the distinction Israel bestows on non-Jews who took great risks to protect Jews during the Holocaust.
We thank you today for the bravery shown in September 1943 by your great-grandmother, Princess Alice of Greece – whose grave you visited on Thursday on the Mount of Olives – who opened her Athens palace and saved the Cohen family from the Greek town of Trikala.
You are of the new generation, Prince William, 36 years old, who one day will become king of England. You will ascend the throne that continues a line of over 40 kings and queens, going back to 1066. That’s dynasty. That’s heritage. That’s royalty. And heritage and royalty are something we Jews understand.
Prince William, when you become king you also become supreme governor of the Church of England, and will assume the role of Fidei Defensor, Defender of the Faith, a royal succession that stretches back to Henry VIII.
You will be called upon to defend that faith, so when you hear lies – the outright lies that are an insult to your heritage and your church and your ancestors, as they are to ours – please help the region move forward by telling the truth, without fear of political consequence: that Jewish ancestors, Solomon and David, lived and ruled right here; that Jesus was a Jew, not a Palestinian.
You cannot call the Old City of Jerusalem “Occupied Palestinian Territories,” implying – if not outright stating – that Jews have no connection, no rights, to the Western Wall, the Temple Mount or the Mount of Olives. At worst you can call it “disputed territories.”
Yes, there is a dispute, but there can be no denying that those locations, and the entire Land of Israel, is part and parcel of the history of the Jewish people. A political settlement may require redrawing lines on the map, but Jews and the State of Israel have a legitimate claim as well. Some might say they have a royal claim.
Be bold. Go and accomplish that which was impossible for your ancestors to do. The British Foreign Office has long dictated a policy to refrain from official visits to Israel so long as there was no significant progress toward Israeli-Palestinian peace.
But progress has been made: The United States recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and that recognition also acknowledges that Jerusalem is the capital of the Jewish people. And it is, once and forever capital of the Jewish people.
So on your next trip, do meet the mayor of Jerusalem – in his office.
Regarding Israeli-British relations, we have a long history, not always good, to put it mildly. But we cannot dwell only on the 20th century. We’re nearly two decades into this one, and we – Israel and Britain – must continue to move forward as we’ve been doing, especially our bilateral economic ties and defense cooperation.
As you noted on Tuesday, “The ties between our two countries have never been stronger, whether in our record levels of trade and investment, our cooperation in science and technology or the work we do together to keep our people safe.”
In this part of the world, keeping safe is the number one priority. Help us in the fight against those threats.