Prince William will open his visit to Israel with a trip to Yad Vashem with Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis before going on to meet Benjamin Netanyahu and Reuven Rivlin.
The second-in-line to the throne will touch down in Israel for the first official visit by a British royal on 25 June, after arriving from Jordan.
The spokesman said the Duke was “looking forward” to the visit, adding that the possibility of an official Royal visit had “been discussed for a number of years.
“As with any visit, the Royal Family takes advice from the foreign office about what is the appropriate time. They decided this is it and the Duke is the right person.” The timing is not linked to the 70th anniversary of Israel’s creation, he added.
Noting the “complex challenges” in the region, the four-day tour to Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Territories would put the spotlight on the people of the region. HRH “wants to meet as many people from as many walks of life as possible”.
The Israel leg will also include a garden party at the residence of British Ambassador David Quarrey, where HRH will address prominent figures from both countries. He will take part in a penalty shoot-out with young Israeli Jews and Arabs involved in the UJIA-backed Equaliser programme and the Peres Centre for Peace, and meet start-ups at a tech innovation demo.
In Ramallah, he will meet President Mahmoud Abbas. A statement said his time in the West Bank would highlight “issues facing refugee communities” and include events celebrating Palestinian culture and food.
In Jordan, the Prince will further long-standing ties between the two Royal families. His engagements will include a party marking the Queen’s birthday and a visit to the Jordan Armed Forces Arab Army base to see how UK forces are working with Jordanian counterparts on security. At the Jerash archeological site dating back to the Roman era, HRH will meet Syrian refugee children taking part in an education and support programme. Jordan has provided a home to more than 600,000 refugees from the conflict.
He will be accompanied on the four-day tour by a 10-strong team including senior advisor Sir David Manning, who is a former British ambassador to Israel, and outgoing private secretary Miguel Head.
A Palace statement said:” The historic nature of this tour is of course important and The Duke considers it a great privilege to be undertaking the first ever official Royal tour of Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories and to be able to help further strengthen the friendship between Jordan and the United Kingdom. More importantly, however, The Duke is looking forward to building a real and enduring relationship with the people of the region. In particular he is pleased that his programme will allow him to meet a number of people from his own generation and young Jordanians, Israelis, and Palestinians. His Royal Highness is looking forward to learning about their unique perspectives, but also their shared ambitions and hopes for the future.”
Source: Jewish News Online (Britain)