Prince William at Yad Vashem
Prince William at Yad VashemHillel Meir/TPS

The following is the full speech given by Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, at the British Embassy Garden Reception, Israel, Tel Aviv Tuesday evening.


Erev tov lekulam.

Prime Minister, ladies and gentlemen, I am afraid that that is the extent of my Hebrew. But I am delighted to be here in Israel.

This morning I went to Yad Vashem as my first official engagement. It was a profoundly moving experience.

It brought back powerful memories of the visit that my wife Catherine and I made last year to Stutthof concentration camp.

At Yad Vashem, I met survivors of the Holocaust who came to the UK on the Kindertransport, whose 80th anniversary we mark this year. I heard their stories of a new life made after the United Kingdom in Israel.

I will also visit the grave of my great-grandmother, Princess Alice, who was declared Righteous Among Nations for saving Jews during the Second World War.

Her story is a matter of great pride for my whole family – and the gift I received today from you, Prime Minister, of a copy of the medal presented in her honor by Israel is something my family will treasure – thank you.

As I wrote in my message at Yad Vashem, we must never forget what was perpetrated against the Jewish people in the Holocaust. I am well aware that the responsibility falls now to my generation to keep the memory alive of that great crime as the Holocaust generation passes on. And I commit myself to doing this.

Israel's remarkable story is partly one of remembering this terrible past but, also, looking forward to a much more hopeful future. There is – and I've seen it already – an essential vibrancy to this country.

From the early stories of the kibbutzim; to the revival of Hebrew as a living, modern language; to the hi-tech economies that we see around us here in Tel Aviv – the modern story of Israel is one of inventing, creating, innovating, and striding confidently into its future.

I saw part of this future this afternoon when I met boys and girls from different communities, brought together by their love of football.

And I got a flavor today of the unique character of Tel Aviv, its flair and diversity – and its beach. A beautiful city.

And tomorrow I will meet more young people from around the country, working on the environment, mental health and helping the less fortunate.

These young people are painting a bright future for Israel, bringing their own energy and creativity to the Start-Up Nation. These young people are also a reminder of how much we have in common – two open societies which thrive on innovation, diversity, talent and excellence.

The ties between our two countries have never been stronger, whether in our record levels of trade and investment, our cooperation in science and technology; or the work we do together to keep our people safe.

This region has a complicated and tragic history – in the past century the people of the Middle East have suffered great sadness and loss. Never has hope and reconciliation been more needed. I know I share a desire with all of you, and with your neighbors, for a just and lasting peace.

The United Kingdom stands with you, as we work together for a peaceful and prosperous future.

Thank you again for the warmth of your welcome. Enjoy your evening.

Toda raba.