The bizarre story of the refusal of British royals to visit Israel, while they are constantly in the Arab world, continues.
I wrote about this phenomenon here, last February, when Prince Charles visited Saudi Arabia. As I noted then, the Queen has never set foot in Israel and Prince Charles set foot there briefly only once, for the Rabin funeral.
By contrast, in just the month of November 2014 we found Prince Andrew and Prince Harry at what the Foreign Office must have considered a diplomatic necessity: the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Prince Andrew also visited Saudi Arabia (at the request of the Foreign Office, it was announced).
And Prince Harry also visited Oman. Now with all due respect, Oman is a country of 3.6 million people with a GDP of $80 billion. Israel is a country of 8 million people with a GDP of about $300 billion. No point in laboring the comparison, but one might add that Prince Charles visited Oman in 2013 and the Queen herself visited there in 2010.
There are really only three logical explanations. The first is that the British royals only like to visit royals, and try to stay away from republics. But Prince Charles has visited Egypt time after time, so there goes that theory. The second possible explanation is fear--fear that any kind of royal visit to Israel would harm the UK, for example if Arab lands retaliated by cutting trade with Britain. This is silly. Prince Charles visited Jordan last year and could easily have helicoptered over for a day in Israel. Princes Andrew or Harry could have stopped by while in the Middle East as well. Given the current tacit alliance of Israel and the Gulf monarchies against Iran and ISIS, the likelihood that such visits would have harmed the UK is impossibly small. The third possible explanation for the continuing refusal of the British royals to set foot in Israel is that either they or the Foreign Office harbor deep and undying enmity toward the Jewish state.