Tova Herzl

How Israel can help Kate and Wills with their PR

King Ahashverosh (Xerxes), his queens Vashti followed by Esther and other characters in the Scroll of Esther supply us with much court intrigue as well as existential drama around Purim, especially in these times of national distress. But those who seek long term escapism are well advised to follow the ins and outs of the British royal family. From a young age, I was interested in them, especially in Prince Charles. We would meet (where exactly? Netanya beach? Synagogue?), fall in love, he would convert, and Buckingham Palace would become kosher.

Adolescent imaginings aside, Queen Elizabeth was for decades a source of stability and wisdom. She moved with the times, recognized mistakes and acknowledged crises, corrected and adapted. Helen Mirren, a recent cinematic Golda Meir, won an Oscar and for her portrayal of the Queen after the death of Princess Diana. The Palace initially viewed it as a private matter, but Her Majesty responded to the mourning public and plans were adjusted accordingly.

Hence my surprise at the conduct of royal circles regarding the medical situation of HRH Catherine, Princess of Wales. While the King divulged that he has cancer (But what kind? Do tell!), all we know is that after Christmas she underwent scheduled abdominal surgery, that she will return to public duties around Easter, and that she was not seen in public for months. Rumors are rife. Did the surgery cause irreparable harm? Did the heir expel her, and replace her with a lover? Could she be dead? The photoshopped picture of Kate and Kids which was issued for mothers’ day increased the rumblings, and was that a body double with Prince William at a Windsor farm shop?

How is it possible that their professional staff is unable to deal aptly with the situation? Do they not understand that the world has changed, responses must be immediate, and things must not be allowed to get out of control? What kind of workers do they have?

From my modest location here in the Middle East, I humbly recommend a candidate with unique background and skills. A graduate of both Oxford and Cambridge, he excelled in debating, so can convincingly argue both sides of any issue. No wonder that he became a prominent spokesperson, highly regarded by (almost) all his interlocutors around the world.

I respectfully refer Kensington Palace to the currently unemployed Eylon Levy, c/o Office of the Prime Minister of Israel.

The most famous eyebrows in Israel, which in response to ridiculous questions by hostile or ignorant journalists rose into a question mark, would now be stuck in mid-forehead. Having only words, I can but ask: Really? As Israel is facing unprecedented challenges, a spokesman who is universally considered a unique asset is no longer representing Israel? How? Why?

Apparently, a tweet he issued annoyed a senior cabinet minister in Britain. While it is understandable that mistakes are made under pressure, if this is indeed the case, he was out of order and must apologize.

But like with the mysterious absence of Kate, transparency is recommended. It would help quash rumors about a person who by definition has a prominent role, and whose silence is therefore deafening.

For Israelis, whose country is in the throes of a multi-pronged crisis and is fast losing international support, it is impossible to forget earlier reports that because Eylon Levy was active in demonstrations against the regime change before the war, Mrs. Netanyahu strove to remove him. It must also be noted that his suspension occurred parallel to the Prime Minister’s remarks in a Knesset committee that our hasbara (information, public advocacy, propaganda – take your pick) is unsuccessful because there are no English speakers. Sir, look in the mirror and see who appointed inarticulate office-holders while suspending an effective communicator. Moreover, no action is taken against cabinet ministers and other senior figures who make offensive statements against America and its officials, whose importance to Israel far exceeds that of any other country.

There is a saying in Yiddish, which I have sadly used far too many times in recent months: if he weren’t my fool, I too would laugh (ven der nar volt nit geven mayn, volt ikh oykh gelakht). So, have you heard it whispered that Prince Andrew might remarry Sarah, a.k.a. Fergie? And what do you say about that wicked Persian Haman and his scheming wife Zeresh? Quite a couple, don’t you think?

Eylon Levy on Sky News, November 2023, photo from Wikipedia
About the Author
Tova Herzl served twice as congressional liaison in Washington DC, was Israel's first ambassador to the newly independent Baltic states, and took early retirement after a tumultuous ambassadorship in South Africa. She is the author of the book, Madame Ambassador; Behind The Scenes With A Candid Israeli Diplomat.
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