Prince William began the first official visit by a British royal to Israel and the Palestinian Territories on Monday, facing the challenge of navigating deep political and religious divides in a Holy Land once ruled by Britain.
William, a 36-year-old grandson of Queen Elizabeth and second in line to the throne, will see religious sites, honor Holocaust victims and meet Jewish and Arab youths, and Israeli and Palestinian leaders.
A spokesman for the prince, acknowledging the “well-known” and “complex challenges” in the Middle East, said William’s tour, like other visits abroad by members of the British royal family, will be non-political.
But tradition and history will mark many of his stops in an area fought over for centuries and once administered by colonial Britain in the final days of its empire.
In Jerusalem, the holy city at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the prince will view its walled Old City from the Mount of Olives during his four-day trip.
William, who flew into Israel from Jordan, will also visit the Church of St. Mary Magdalene and the tomb of his great-grandmother, Princess Alice, who sheltered a Jewish family in Greece during World War Two.
“A HISTORIC VISIT”
In remarks to legislators on Monday before William’s arrival in Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said “we will of course welcome the prince” on “a historic visit,” and he paid tribute to Princess Alice, as one of the “righteous among the nations” who saved Jewish lives during the Holocaust.
This story "Prince William Touches Down In Israel For Historic Visit" was written by Reuters.