William Tours Tel Aviv, Ramallah & Jerusalem

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It’s been a whirlwind two days for the Duke of Cambridge, so let’s pick up where we left off on Monday, with him touching down in Israel and marking the first official visit from a member of the British Royal Family.

Tuesday morning began on a somber note, with a trip to Yad Vashem – Israel’s official memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust. As when William, along with Kate, visited the Holocaust memorial in Berlin and the concentration camp in Poland last summer, it’s incredibly important that the BRF use these moments and their own ability to drive headlines to keep the atrocities from this particular moment in history in the public consciousness.

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William was given a tour of the museum and then met with survivors of the Holocaust and  the Kindertransport.

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Within the Hall of Memories, he laid a wreath, during which time he was accompanied by the British Chief Rabbi.

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From there, it was off to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, a particularly historic moment.

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And then he met with President Reuven Rivlin at his residence. Thus, I think it’s safe to say Tuesday might have been one of William’s more stressful days on the job!

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But it wasn’t over yet! Next up came a trip to Jaffa where he met with youth organizations focused on facilitating harmony between people of different religious and ethnic backgrounds.

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The groups hosted a football match, which allowed William to both play and meet with children and adolescents involved with the organizations.

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If that wasn’t enough, William then moved to central Tel Aviv for an engagement on a beach where he met three Israeli surfers and a volleyball team, escorted by the city’s Mayor.

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Finally, for his last stop yesterday evening, he spoke at a reception at the residence of Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Israel before returning to Jerusalem. I would imagine he was grateful for his hotel room that evening, because I’m exhausted just recapping that day!

And yet there’s more – today! This morning kicked off in Tel Aviv again for an engagement not previously announced, likely due to security concerns. It saw the Duke on Rothschild Street in the center of the city meeting Eurovision Song Contest winner, Netta, for a cherry gazoz.

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Then it was on to the Beit Ha’ir Museum in the newly renovated Old City Hall of Tel Aviv. The museum is designed to be an open house for artists, writers and scholars, and while there William watched a tech demonstration and met with local startups. He then attended a civil society reception, meeting groups of young people engaged in the fields of youth activism, social impact and the environment.

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The day’s headline moment was without a doubt, though, when William arrived in Ramallah to meet Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in his office.

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The rest of the afternoon was then spent meeting with refugees and related organizations to hear about the issues they’re facing today in region.

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This included a trip to a local school for girls where an informal “roundtable” discussion was convened.

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This evening saw William’s last speech of the trip back in Jerusalem at the Consul General’s residence. He noted:

“My message tonight is that you have not been forgotten, it has been a very powerful experience to meet you and other Palestinians in the West Bank and to hear your stories. I hope that through my being here and understanding the challenges you face, the links of friendship and mutual respect between the Palestinian and British people can grow stronger.”

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Amen. It’s been an incredibly busy trip for William and while I have not been able to pay as close attention as I would have liked thanks to my own hectic schedule, I think he’s pulled this off with aplomb. We have one more day left and the itinerary for it is one that I’m particularly excited for. I hope to get a post up before too late in the day, and then I promise to return us to history over the weekend!

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