It’s countdown time for the visit of Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, and a future king of England, though it’s unlikely that he will have nearly as long a wait as his father to sit on the throne.
The coronation of his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II took place on June 2, 1953, at which time Prince Charles was four-and-a-half years old. Charles will celebrate his 70th birthday on November 14, three days after the centenary of the end of the First World War. In other words, he’s been waiting some 65 years for his turn to be king. The queen, who is 92 years old, has given no indication that she will step aside to enable Charles to become king.
Unlike her children, most of whom have been divorced, the queen has had not only a long reign but also a long marriage. Last year, she and Prince Philip, 97, celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary.
If the queen takes after her mother, she will live to be at least 101. Given the longevity of both his parents, Charles, if and when he does become king, may live to be the oldest monarch in contemporary history.
As for William, like all dignitaries of his status and government leaders, he will visit Yad Vashem and, unlike most other European dignitaries, will not have to bow his head in shame, because Britain did not collaborate with the Nazis; Britain fought against the Nazis.
Moreover, the prince has a personal stake in Yad Vashem, in that his paternal great-grandmother on his grandfather’s side was recognized by Yad Vashem as Righteous Among the Nations. Princess Alice of Battenberg and Greece, the mother of Philip, from the end of 1943 to October 1944, hid Rachel, Tilda and Michelle Cohen in her palace in Nazi-occupied Greece, and personally saw to their welfare. Because of her courage and compassion, they survived.
Alice, who died in 1969, left a request to be buried at the Convent of Saint Mary Magdalene in Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. Her remains were brought there in 1988. In 1994, Philip planted a tree honoring his mother’s memory at Yad Vashem and also visited her tomb, as did Charles on September 30, 2016, after attending the funeral of Israel’s ninth president, Shimon Peres. William is also scheduled to visit her grave.
While at Yad Vashem next Tuesday, William will meet Paul Alexander and Henry Foner, who might well have been among the children murdered during the Holocaust, but for the fact that they were placed on a Kindertransport that took them to Britain and gave them a future.
■ DURING HIS brief visit to Israel, the prince will stay at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, with a much smaller entourage than that which accompanied US President Donald Trump. All in all, only 40 rooms have been reserved, including those for his support team from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the British Embassy.
Aware that the prince is fond of drinking tea, the hotel’s management has ordered the finest teas to be imported from England. Moreover, when the prince arrives, according to Sheldon Ritz, the hotel’s director of operations, he will be greeted not only with the customary refreshments, but also with Britain’s traditional high tea of scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream.
If the scones go over well, they may become a permanent fixture on the hotel’s menu.
Strangely enough, despite certain remnants of the lifestyle of the British Mandate era that were left in Israel, a good recipe for scones is not one of them. Nor is there one for crumpets.
Many immigrants from Britain make great scones and crumpets, but hardly any commercial enterprises have learned the secret.
An advance delegation is due to arrive from England on Friday to finalize arrangements for William’s visit. He is not the first royal or the most high-ranking royal to stay at the King David, but he will be the first British royal to come on an official visit, paving the way for some of his relatives to follow.
■ SOME 5,000 lone soldiers serving in the Israel Defense Forces have been invited to an R&R Fun Day at the Shefayim Water Park on Wednesday, June 27. The overwhelming majority of lone soldiers have come from overseas to make personal contributions to Israel’s security.
Though some do have relatives in Israel, they are here without their immediate families. Also within the category of “lone soldier” are some Israelis who have been disowned by their families for ideological reasons, or who were identified as youth at risk and removed from their families and placed in youth villages or in foster care.
Hosting the Fun Day are Friends of the IDF (FIDF) in partnership with the IDF and Yahad – United for Israel’s Soldiers (The Association for the Wellbeing of Israel’s Soldiers in cooperation with The LIBI Fund).
There are some 7,000 lone soldiers from 80 countries currently serving in the IDF, with around 925 from the United States, 639 from Ukraine, 559 from Russia and 545 from France.
Sixty-seven percent of lone soldiers are men, while 33% are women.
Some 59% of lone soldiers serve in combat or combat-support roles.
FIDF cares for all lone soldiers serving in the IDF through the Lone Soldiers Program, which supports them financially, socially and emotionally during and after their military service.
FIDF also sponsors flights for lone soldiers to visit their families and friends in their countries of origin.
Among the Fun Day participants will be lone soldiers from all IDF units.
In addition to the many attractions of the water park, the Fun Day will feature a pool party with leading Israeli DJ Eran Barnea, games and fitness areas, an all-day smorgasbord of barbecue and desserts, and a special performance by popular Israeli band Hatikva 6. Participants will also receive essential information about life after their military service, including how to benefit from the FIDF IMPACT! Scholarship Program, which grants college scholarships to Israeli combat veterans of modest means.
June 27 kicks off the second annual IDF Appreciation Week, which continues through to July 8, and will in one way or another benefit more than 50,000 soldiers from June 27 to July 8. On June 28, FIDF will host an additional Fun Day for some 5,000 front-line IDF combat soldiers, and will send four ice cream trucks to bring a variety of ice creams to more than 24,000 soldiers on IDF combat bases across the country.
■ BEING AN ambassador is an education in itself because ambassadors host so many different kinds of events, and they have to learn something about each of them in advance. Most ambassadors get the biggest kick out of hosting events that introduce the traditions of their home countries to people in their host countries.
That’s one of the pleasures that Japanese Ambassador Koji Tomito will have when he hosts the first-ever gathering of all Budo leaders in Israel.
Budo is the contemporary form of Japanese martial arts. Many Israelis are familiar with Budo for Peace founded by Danny Hakim to promote good relations between Israeli and Palestinian youth.
Hakim, who was born in Australia, is a two-time silver medalist in the World Karate Championships.
Hakim, who spent several years studying martial arts in Japan, has represented Australia, Japan and Israel in the Shotokan, Karate World and European championships. He lives in Ra’anana with his Canadian- born wife, Danna Azrieli, and their daughters.
Guests at the ambassador’s residence in Herzliya Pituah will see a Budo demonstration, in addition to eating some of the Japanese delicacies that will be served in celebration of Budo Spirit in Israel.
■ ARGUABLY THE best-known public relations company in Israel is that of Ran Rahav, who is frequently featured in the media, and who, with his wife, Hila, not only runs a flourishing enterprise in which most of their clients are also part of their social circle, but also has a large, long-term loyal staff, who are part of their extended family. However, between now and the beginning of October, they will be losing three of the top people in their stable.
Deputy CEO Anat Freedman, who joined the firm in 2007, will be leaving on October 1. Dana Herman, head of crisis management, who has been part of the Rahavs’ operations for 14 years, will also clear her desk on October 1, and Rina Brovinski, who has been with the Rahav company for 18 years serving as a deputy CEO, will wind up her duties on Rosh Hashana.
Though sorry to see each of them leaving the nest, the Rahavs wish them well in the new paths they are taking. It’s unusual these days, especially in PR, for employees to linger beyond five years. More often than not they leave after three years. Nearly all of the Rahavs’ employees have double-digit staying power, which not only says a lot for them, but also for their employers. Ten members of the remaining staff have been promoted, and two new people, Tzachi Dahan and Ran Yehezkel, have joined the team.