Great Britain’s Prince William arrived in Israel this week, marking the first time a representative of the British Monarchy formally visited the State of Israel.
Our relationships with Great Britain has had its ups and downs over the years – starting with the Balfour Declaration and the tough White Paper policy. This visit, too, is not without controversy. Escorted by Palestinians – not Israelis – the prince wishes to tour the Old City, which, in the official royal schedule, is described as “the Occupied Palestinian territories.”
This controversy reminds me of a wonderful story about Rav Kook. In 1917, the Balfour Declaration was published, which officially supported the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Israel. Many Jews took out ads, emotionally thanking Britain.
Rav Kook, however, saw matters differently, and asked that people view the event in the proper perspective. In a big event held in London to celebrate the Declaration, the rabbi surprised the participants by saying, “I did not come here to thank the British kingdom. I came here to bless it. To bless it for the fact that it was the one who won the great merit to declare and announce to the world our return to the Land of Israel.”
Truth, justice, and integrity are not dependent on external, international declarations. But those who promote positive steps and join the right side of history have a great zechut.