President Reuven Rivlin on Wednesday morning met at his residence with the UK Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Boris Johnson who is visiting Israel, and asked Johnson to extend an invitation for a representative of the Royal family to visit Israel, noting the upcoming anniversary of the Balfour Deceleration.
The President told Johnson, the former Mayor of London, “It is a pleasure to welcome you back to Israel, this time as Foreign Secretary,” and added, “this is a very important year in the history of the relations between Israel and the United Kingdom. We will mark 100 years since the Balfour Declaration and I am greatly honored to extend an official invitation to the Royal family to visit Israel to mark this event.”
The Foreign Secretary thanked the President for his warm welcome and said of the Balfour Declaration centennial, “Mr. President, this is indeed an important moment and we are looking forward to the commemorations.”
He added, “We see our historic role in Israel and in the region, and we want to bolster and build our bilateral relations. The future is cooperation.”
It’s doubtful, however, that the Royals would set foot on Jerusalem’s soil any time soon, especially not on the anniversary of their country’s promise to establish a homeland for the Jews in the area stretching between the Iraqi border and the Mediterranean Sea. Last July, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas asked Arab states to help him get a lawsuit together against the UK over the 1917 Balfour Declaration, on the grounds that it led to the Arab Nakba-catastrophe, their term for Israeli independence.
Rivlin and Johnson went on to speak at length about the history of the region, as well as more recent developments, and the hopes for a resolution to the conflict between Israel and its numerous Arab neighbors.