Disparaging comment about Israel spells diplomatic trouble for Charles

November 17th, 2007 - 2:20 pm ICT by admin  

London, Nov.17 (ANI): The leaking of e-mails in which senior staff made disparaging comments about Israel, has landed Prince Charles in the middle of a diplomatic row.
According to The Times, internal e-mails between two of the Princes closest aides make clear that there was no chance ever of Clarence House accepting an invitation to visit Jerusalem.
The e-mails, published in The Jewish Chronicle today, also disclose a fear that Israel would want the Prince to help burnish its international image.
The e-mails were copied accidentally to the outgoing Israeli Ambassador, Zvi Heivetz, who left his post on Wednesday night.
No member of the Royal Family has made a formal state visit to Israel, although the Duke of Edinburgh went to Yad Vashem and planted a tree in memory of his mother in 1994.
The Prince of Wales attended the funeral of Yitzhak Rabin and the Duke of Wessex made a private trip to Haifa.
In the hope of building on the traditionally strong relations between Israel and the British Royal Family, the Israeli Embassy in London invited Sir Michael Peat, the Princes principal private secretary, and his deputy Clive Alderton, to Israel for a four-day visit as guests of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament.
The initial response from Sir Michael was enthusiastic. In a e-mail to Mr Heifetz and copied to his deputy, he says: The invitation to Israel is hugely appreciated and Clive and I would love to come.
However, by the time Alderton responded to Sir Michael six days later, the ardour had cooled. Alderton wrote: Safe to assume that there is no chance of this visit ever actually happening? Acceptance would make it hard to avoid the many ways in which Israel would want HRH to help burnish its international image.
The embassy declined to comment on the suggestion that Alderton had copied Mr Heifetz into this reply by mistake. A spokesman said it had no idea how the correspondence had reached The Jewish Chronicle.
Henry Grunwald, the president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews and chairman of the Jewish Leadership Council, said: Prince Charles is a great friend of the Jewish community. I am sure he will be deeply disturbed that some people might interpret these unfortunate e-mails as conveying any hostility to Israel at all.
The Times understands that Alderton has arranged to telephone Grunwald to clarify his position and apologise for any offence caused.
The Prince of Wales has throughout his adult life been at pains to build good relations with other faiths. In 1998 he attended an Orthodox service at St Johns Wood to mark Israels 50th anniversary. He is a patron of the Jewish Museum and supports World Jewish Relief. (ANI)

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