Prince Charles Scoffs at Visiting Israel

November 17, 2007   |   By (see 's Profile)   |   Filed Under Headlines 


Senior aides to Britain’s Prince Charles said there is “no chance” the prince would ever visit Israel as such a visit would boost Israel’s international image. The aides wrote the comments, in August e-mails, after outgoing Israeli ambassador to Britain Zvi Heifetz extended an invitation to the prince via principal private secretary Sir Michael Peat and deputy private secretary Clive Alderton.

In e-mails to be published today in London by The Jewish Chronicle, Peat politely thanked Heifetz and said the prince “would love to come.” However, in a later e-mail Alderton sent to Peat, he complained that he was “being pursued.”

Alderton asked is it “safe to assume there is no chance of this visit ever actually happening?” Alderton noted, “Acceptance would make it hard to avoid the many ways in which Israel would want HRH [Prince Charles] to help burnish its international image. In which case, let’s agree a way to lower its expectations.”

The likely publication of the e-mails in the newspaper with the largest distribution in the British Jewish community is already causing a storm. Some community leaders asked to comment have stressed Prince Charles’ fondness for the community and Jewish matters, while others are critical of his refusal to visit Israel.

There has never been an official visit of a member of the British royal family to Israel. Charles came to Israel in a private capacity for a few hours in 1995 for the funeral of slain prime minister Yitzhak Rabin.

In the past, senior British government sources and sources close to the royal family have said no official visit could take place before a peace agreement between Israel and its Arab neighbors.

Charles’ spokesman told The Jewish Chronicle in response to the report: “This is simply an internal e-mail about a possible visit by Clarence House officials to Israel. Any potential visit by the Prince of Wales would be undertaken at the recommendation of the government. The prince is continuing his regular engagement with the Jewish community in the UK and abroad.

Outgoing Israeli Ambassador Zvi Heifetz, who worked throughout his service to improve Israel’s image, stated that “if that is what is written between two people so close to the prince, it reeks of worse than hypocrisy.”

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