King Charles may visit Israel soon – report

“There’s no doubt that Charles will be the one to break this pattern” of sitting British monarchs not officially visiting the Holy Land, said one lord privy to the matter.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

King Charles III has indicated a strong desire to visit Israel officially, which would break the royal family’s longstanding custom of not having a sitting monarch come for a formal stay in the Jewish state, Britain’s Daily Mail reported Sunday.

The paper quoted Lord Stuart Polak as saying, “There is no doubt that Charles will be the one to break this pattern. The preparation has been done by his team to pave the way for this visit.”

Polak was a longtime Conservative MP who headed the right-wing party’s Friends of Israel group for over a quarter of a century before receiving a life peerage. Both the Conservative party and President Isaac Herzog, who is a personal friend of the king, have pushed for such a visit.

Herzog is said to have noted that the just-concluded Operation Shield and Arrow, when Palestinian Islamic Jihad launched a 1,400-rocket barrage at Israel over five days, had put a crimp in the plans.

However, the paper cited another diplomatic source who said that even the possible danger of Palestinian terror attacks wouldn’t deter the monarch. The king, said the source, “made it clear in recent years that he is not afraid to go to Israel and will not allow being the monarch prevent him from returning in that role.”

A royal call could be considered historic if not unprecedented, as Charles has come to Israel three times in his life in a private capacity. The first two times were as marks of respect for Israeli leaders, as he attended the funerals of the assassinated prime minister Yitzak Rabin in 1995 and of former prime minister and president Shimon Peres in 2016.

His most recent visit was in January 2020, when he came with dozens of world leaders to Yad Vashem to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz as part of International Holocaust Remembrance Day commemorations.

His son William, who is now the crown prince, broke the taboo on official visits when he visited Israel in June 2018. Although it was officially touted as a non-political visit, the Duke of Cambridge met with Palestinian and Israeli leaders in Ramallah and Jerusalem respectively, as well as with high-tech entrepreneurs in Tel Aviv. He also spent time at Yad Vashem, prayed at the Western Wall and stopped at the tomb of his great-grandmother, Princess Alice, who is buried in Jerusalem.

The royal itinerary angered Israel when it noted Jerusalem as being part of the “Occupied Palestinian Territories.”

According to Lord Polak, Charles would also visit the Palestinian Authority in order to prevent an international outcry.

Although the late Queen Elizabeth exhibited great warmth to her Jewish subjects and included the chief rabbis of her kingdom in many of her ceremonial occasions, she had never visited Israel even once during her 70-year reign.