Buckingham Palace. Photo: Wiki Commons.
Queen Elizabeth II is marking her 66th year of reign in 2018, which by any standards is an extraordinarily long time for a single individual to be a head of state. (By comparison, King David is said to have reigned for 40 years, and Queen Victoria — comfortably overtaken now by Elizabeth –managed 64.)
Off the top of my head, I can’t think of any current ruler who has remained in place throughout the Cold War and beyond. In that sense, historians will have a grand second Elizabethan era to pour through, one so lengthy that those things that were features of the first half of her reign — ration books, royal family struggles with the Church of England, a snarling punk ditty by the Sex Pistols that rhymed “queen” with “fascist regime” — were misty memories by the time it came to its close in the age of social media.
But for all the momentous historic changes that Elizabeth witnessed from her vantage points at Buckingham Palace, Windsor and Balmoral — changes that were often blessed with royal visits, high honors, state banquets and so forth — one country went stubbornly unacknowledged: Israel.
Now that Elizabeth’s grandson, Prince William, has announced a first-ever visit by a British royal to Israel, in addition to Jordan and the “Occupied Palestinian Territories,” it is perhaps time to reflect on the relationship, or absence of one, between the House of Windsor and the Jewish nation.
In discussions of international affairs, it has become commonplace for Western observers to view Russia as a declining power, destined…
Part of the delight around William’s impending visit stems from the fact that few people see the royal family as a political entity anymore; getting a visit from a Windsor, the son of the iconic Princess Diana no less, is a moment for one’s national pride to swell in the glow of royal approval. When Elizabeth visited post-Communist Lithuania in 2006, the BBC reported on the cheering crowds in the capital, Vilnius, waving their own flag alongside the Union Jack. One might imagine that Israelis, having emerged from a similar history of turbulence, would have appreciated a similar opportunity.
The point, however, is not simply that the Queen made Lithuanians feel good about themselves. In a speech to the Lithuanian parliament, she saluted all the Baltic nations in explicitly political terms. “You have emerged from the shadow of the Soviet Union and blossomed as sovereign states, taking up your rightful places in the international community and as respected members of the European Union and NATO,” she remarked. “It is a transformation — political, economic and social — for which there are few parallels in the history of Europe.”
Words like these could have been heard in the Knesset in Jerusalem. They should have been. But as far as the Queen and her close relatives were concerned — including her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, whose mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg, saved Greek Jews from the Nazis and is interred on Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives — Israel may as well have not existed.
To entirely pin the blame for this unsettling indifference towards Israel on the Arabists at the British Foreign Office, who have been in a state of penance ever since the Balfour Declaration of 1917, would do Elizabeth a great disservice. True, unlike her forebears, her divine right to rule has been severely tempered by the more modern rule of law. But that manifestly does not mean she is a plaything of the British government, blissfully unaware of the soft power and international legitimacy that a royal visit grants.
The bald fact remains, then, that a monarch who was crowned when the wounds of the Holocaust were still fresh, who witnessed at least three attempts by Arab states to eliminate the Jewish state and who always maintained a cordial relationship with Britain’s Jewish community, never asserted the importance of a visit to the land where Christianity was born.
Yet she made her way to Germany in 1965, at a time when most Britons could still remember the Luftwaffe’s decimation of cities like Manchester, Coventry and London. Most of the Middle East’s autocracies — Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Qatar, Iran under the Shah, Turkey — received a visit, too. There are few major democracies or Western allies that have not received one.
It beggars belief that the shrewd Elizabeth has not herself recognized this anomaly, and for whatever reason, has willingly complied with a stance of pretending that Israel doesn’t exist. Even if one could make a realist case that a visit to Israel during the mid-1970s would have been unwise in the face of the Arab oil weapon, what held the royals back in the comparatively more peaceful times of the late 1990s? When Arab leaders and the leaders of Israel’s former Communist enemies can and have made the trip, why has Elizabeth not done so?
Perhaps we shall discover the reason in a diary fragment that emerges in future years. Or perhaps it will always remain an odd secret that will be largely forgotten a decade from now. Because at that point, if all goes to plan and barring a scientific miracle, the Queen will have been replaced by King Charles III. Prince Charles, you see, and not William, is Elizabeth’s direct heir, and coincidentally, has never paid an official visit to Israel either.
William will, I am sure, say most of what needs to be said when he arrives in Israel in May. But as you listen to him, do remember that his grandmother should have said exactly the same a long time ago.
The opinions presented by Algemeiner bloggers are solely theirs and do not represent those of The Algemeiner, its publishers or editors. If you would like to share your views with a blog post on The Algemeiner, please be in touch through our Contact page.
The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration — which seeks to criminalize criticism of migration — is nothing more or less than a dangerous effort to weaken national borders, to normalize mass migration, to blur the line between legal and illegal immigration, and to bolster the idea that people claiming to be refugees enjoy a panoply of rights in countries where they have never before set foot.
One thing about the agreement, in any event, is irrefutable: almost nobody in the Western world has been clamoring for this. It is, quite simply, a project of the globalist elites. It is a UN power-grab.
The waterfront in the Chilean city of Valdivia. Photo: Arvid Puschnig via Wikimedia Commons.
Top Jewish groups have welcomed a Chilean government decision made earlier this week to ban municipalities across the country from boycotting Israel.
The ruling — issued by the Comptroller General of Chile – stemmed from a complaint filed by the Chilean Jewish community over a move of the Valdivia municipality to ban the city from signing contracts with Israel-linked companies.
Spurred by Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman’s resignation and the realization that elections will likely be moved to early 2019, the leaders of the Druze community are determined to fight against the Nationality Law.
Leaders from the Druze minority and others take part in a rally to protest the Jewish nation-state law in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv, Israel, Aug. 4, 2018
It certainly seems like Israel is headed toward early elections. Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, who resigned Nov. 14, and Education Minister Naftali Bennett were both part of the current right-wing government of Benjamin Netanyahu, competing over which of them was its most right-wing member
Israel has started uncovering and destroying Hezbollah’s attack tunnels under the Lebanese border, but destroying the group’s ambitious precision missile project will be much more difficult.
The Israel Defense Forces placed a camera into Hezbollah’s secret cross-border attack tunnel before sunrise on Dec. 4. They pushed it into the Lebanese side, under the Blue Line that separates the two countries. At dawn, two Hezbollah operatives reached the spot on their morning rounds. In the video disseminated by the IDF on Tuesday evening, one of the operatives is seen approaching the camera with suspicion. He stuck his nose in its direction and started to sniff around until something exploded in his face and he ran back the way he’d comVisibilitye.
The timing of Operation Northern Shield, to destroy Hezbollah tunnels leading from Lebanon into Israel, suggests that considerations other than security were behind the decision to launch it.
An Israeli commando from Yahalom, an engineering unit, takes part in a tunnel-hunting drill near Tel Aviv, March 7, 2012.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a speech to Likud activists on Dec. 2 that was both defensive and combative toward law enforcement authorities. He complained about the supposedly suspicious timing of the police announcement recommending his indictment for taking bribes in Case 4000, coming as it did one day before Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh concluded his term in office.
This week, for the first time, Israel made public its discovery of the tunnel constructed by Hezbollah and reaching into Israel’s sovereign territory. This brought to an end a long period during which a large number of Israelis living in communities adjacent to the Lebanese border reported hearing sounds of digging as well as feeling tremors in the walls of their homes.
Attack tunnels are intended to allow for significant numbers of armed infantry bearing weapons, artillery and supplies, to traverse them within a minimal time span, avoiding Israeli lookouts and thereby gaining the element of surprise.
Last Saturday, Iran’s “moderate” President Hassan Rouhani called Israel “a cancerous tumor” in a speech at the regime’s annual Islamic Unity Conference.
Rouhani’s fellow speakers included deputy Hezbollah chief Naim Qassem and Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh. Both terror bosses called for the destruction of the “cancerous tumor.”
With the predictability of a Swiss clock, the Europeans rushed to condemn Rouhani. The EU in Brussels condemned Rouhani. The German Foreign Ministry condemned Rouhani. And so on and so forth.
We could have done without their statements.
It was clear that with the onset of Operation Northern Shield—meant to neutralize terror tunnels Hezbollah has constructed along the Israel-Lebanon border—some would call it a public relations stunt by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Those who believe the timing of the police’s recommendations in Case 4000—announced on the last day of Roni Alsheikh’s tenure as the police commissioner—was reasonable, somehow complain about the timing of the operation.
On Sunday evening, December 2, the people of Sderot, Israel – a town located a mere kilometer from the Gaza border – gathered to light the first candle of the town’s menorah to commemorate the first day of Hanukkah. Jews around the world celebrate this holiday, which marks the time some two millennia ago when the Jews regained control of Jerusalem and rededicated the Second Temple.
What makes the candle lighting in Sderot worth mentioning is the fact that it is particularly symbolic of how the Jewish spirit looks for ways to turn tragedy into triumph.
This is obviously a short-lived honeymoon that will end the day after the UN General Assembly vote on the anti-Hamas resolution. The morning after the vote, Abbas will wake up to the realization that Hamas was a strange bedfellow indeed.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s hatred of Hamas is far from secret. But Abbas is now defending Hamas because he despises the Trump administration, which has sponsored a UN draft resolution that condemns Hamas. Pictured: Abbas (right) meets with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh on May 30, 2007 in the Gaza Strip. (Photo by Abu Askar/PPO via Getty Images)