image Photo: Reuters

Israel mourns passing of Queen Elizabeth

Britain’s longest-reigning monarch and the nation’s figurehead for seven decades died yesterday at the age of 96.

By Erin Viner

“On behalf of the Government and people of Israel, I send my condolences to the Royal Family and the people of the United Kingdom on the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II,” said Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid in a message on Twitter, emphasizing, “She leaves behind an unparalleled legacy of leadership and service.”

Prime Minister Lapid concluded his statement with the traditional Jewish phrase for those who have passed away, writing, “May her memory be a blessing.”

In his own condolences, Israeli President Isaac Herzog said, “Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was known far and wide simply as The Queen. Her passing is the end of an era. Together with the Israeli people, I grieve her loss and extend my deepest sympathies to the British people and all nations of the Commonwealth, who have lost their matriarch. Queen Elizabeth was a historic figure: she lived history, she made history, and with her passing she leaves a magnificent, inspirational legacy.”

Herzog added, “on behalf of the whole State and people of Israel, I express my condolences to the Royal Family, to the King and the Queen Consort, to the people of the United Kingdom, and to all nations of the Commonwealth. Throughout her long and momentous reign, the world changed dramatically, while the Queen remained an icon of stable, responsible leadership, and a beacon of morality, humanity and patriotism. In her life and in her service to her people, the Queen embodied a spirit of integrity, duty and ancient tradition.”

On a personal note, Herzog, who is a member of Israel’s historical political dynasty, commented, “My late mother and father had several audiences with the Queen over the years. Her fond welcome and warm hospitality left a profound impression down the generations.”

Speaker of the Knesset Mickey Levy issued a statement extending “condolences to the British people in this difficult time of intense grief over the death of Queen Elizabeth II.”

The Israeli parliamentary leader went on to say, “Throughout her 70-year reign, Queen Elizabeth II dedicated her life to serving the British people and the United Kingdom, and accompanied British society in its most difficult moments, as well as in its best moments. Over the years, the Queen became the most recognizable political figure in the world, a role model for women from all around the globe, and a symbol of endless devotion to the unity of the British nation. The world will greatly miss her.”

The late Queen was honored with the lighting of Tel Aviv’s City Hall with the Union Jack Flag last night, in a symbol of Israel’s solidarity with the United Kingdom.

The British Queen died peacefully at her Balmoral Castle home in Scotland on Thursday afternoon, according to a statement from Buckingham Palace, where she had been vacationing under medical supervision.

As the world’s oldest and longest-serving head of state, she came to the throne following the death of her father King George VI on 6 February 1952 at the age of just 25; and was crowned in June the following year.

Her eldest son Charles, 73, automatically becomes king of the United Kingdom and the head of state of 14 other realms including Australia, Canada and New Zealand. His wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, is expected to become queen consort, a title that Elizabeth requested at the time of her Platinum Jubilee in June.

The Queen is also survived by her two other sons, Prince Andrew, Duke of York and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex; her daughter, Anne, Princess Royal; eight grandchildren, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge; Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex; Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie; Peter and Zara Phillips; Lady Louise Windsor; and James, Viscount Severn; as well as 12 great-grandchildren.

As the new King’s eldest son, Prince William has become heir apparent to the throne.

UK Prime Minister Liz Truss wrote on Twitter that her “thoughts — and the thoughts of people across our United Kingdom — are with Her Majesty The Queen and her family at this time.”

Truss had an audience with the Queen at Balmoral Castle in Scotland this past Tuesday to receive an official invitation to form the next government following the resignation of her predecessor Boris Johnson. The occasion marked the first time the ceremonial transfer of power was held at Balmoral, rather than the Buckingham Palace in London.

Britain’s royal family will observe a seven-day period of mourning. While her funeral has yet to be announced, it is expect to be held around 11 days after her passing.