Prince William just became one of the few senior members of Britain’s royal family to pay an official visit to the Jewish State. Starting on Tuesday, June 26, Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, will spend three days touring Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, visiting with Israeli and Palestinian politicians, and attending a ceremony at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial.

His visit has already sparked controversy, and his every move seems sure to be scrutinized. As William tours the Jewish state, here are five lessons about Israel that I sincerely hope he takes back home with him to London.

1. Israel is the eternal homeland of the Jewish people.

Prince William’s trip is taking place at a momentous time in Britain, when the government has gone out of its way to emphasize its support for the existence of a Jewish homeland.

101 years ago, the British government declared its official support for “a national home of the Jewish people” in the land of Israel in the Balfour Declaration. In 2017, some called for Britain to disavow this century-old commitment. Instead of doing so, Britain doubled down on its historic support for a Jewish homeland in Israel. Sajid Javid, a British Muslim cabinet secretary, spoke for millions of Britons when he declared, “To apologize for the Balfour Declaration would be to apologize for the existence of Israel and to question its right to exist.” He said Britain would celebrate the Balfour Declaration “with pride”.

Prince William’s visit seems to be part of that spirit of celebration, at long last normalizing British royals’ relationship with Israel. When William visits the Western Wall in Jerusalem, he will be standing at the site where the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem once stood, the very heart of the capital of the Jewish state for the past 3,000 years.

Prince William’s visit will also highlight the urgent need for a Jewish state today. On his visit he’ll meet Jews whose ancestors fled from over 100 countries, all seeking safety to live as Jews in the Jewish state. When he tours Yad Vashem, Prince William will help memorialize the millions of Jews who were murdered just a generation ago because they had no national homeland willing to take them in.

2. Israel is a bastion of civil rights and religious freedom.

One of the many “Righteous Among the Nations” heroes memorialized at Yad Vashem is none other than Prince William’s own great-grandmother, Princess Alice. She was a daughter of Queen Victoria who married a Greek prince, later eschewed her royal family, and during the Holocaust sheltered her Jewish friend Rachel Cohen, as well as her two sons in her Athens apartment. After the war, Princess Alice turned her back on royal life and became a nun. She is buried in the Church of Mary Magdalene in Jerusalem, and Prince William plans to lay a wreath there on his visit.

Princess Alice

When he does, William can’t help but notice the fact that Christians are free to practice their faith unencumbered in Israel, just like all of Israel’s ethnic and religious groups. In fact, freedom of religion and non-discrimination are built into the very legal framework on which the State of Israel was founded. All of Israel’s citizens enjoy this protection. In addition, thousands of Christian pilgrims visit the Jewish state each year. In 2009 Israel opened a historic 40 mile hiking and walking trail through Israel’s breathtaking countryside, incorporating Christian sites. The network of trails, information centers, refreshment areas and other amenities sends a message to Christians around the world that they are valued and welcome in the Jewish state.

At a time when Christians find themselves under attack from Islamist extremists in much of the Middle East – including areas under Palestinian Authority control – Israel’s freedom of religion and vigorous guarantee of all its citizens’ safety is more important than ever.

3. Israel is one of the world’s great tourist destinations

That’s the verdict of Travel and Leisure magazine, which rated Jerusalem one of the world’s top ten not-to-be-missed cities to visit. Prince William is staying at the King David, one of Jerusalem’s premier hotels. Although it’s known to history buffs as the site of British military headquarters in the area before 1948, and was the target of a 1946 bombing by the underground group the Irgun, the King David today is a “luxurious retreat overlooking Jerusalem’s Old City, featuring elegant interiors, spacious rooms, a fine dining restaurant and spectacular views” according to Britain’s Daily Telegraph.

In 2017, Forbes magazine ran an article titled “Why Israel Might Just Have the World’s Best Restaurant Scene”. With vibrant art and music, wonderful restaurants, world-class hiking and historical sites, and some of most spectacular beaches on the planet, Israel is a vibrant tourist destination. Word seems to be getting out: in 2017 saw 3.6 million tourists sample the pleasures of the Jewish state, a 25% increase in visitors from the previous year. The number of visitors in 2018 is higher than ever, and seems set to surpass last year’s record.

4. Israel, like the younger royals, is forward-looking.

Prince William and his brother Prince Harry have broken with a number of old-fashioned royal conventions and are charting their own paths in the modern, multicultural world. Prince Harry recently married Meghan Markle, a mix-raced divorcee who is older than Harry, something unthinkable for a British prince just a few years ago. Prince William’s wife Kate was born a commoner; the royal couple had to battle incredible prejudice and snobbery to be together.

Given his trailblazing credentials, it’s likely that Prince William will appreciate Israel’s forward-thinking sensibilities as well. Israel is the sole country in the Middle East that guarantees universal education, health care, equal rights, protections for minorities, and extends the vote to all citizens, regardless of gender, religion or ethnicity. A robust and independent press and independent courts ensures that Israel remains one of the freest and most open societies on earth. Ironically, although Israel is often bashed as an “apartheid state” and derided in some quarters, nothing could be further from the truth. Visitors to Israel, like Prince William, are sometimes surprised to find that in Israel all citizens enjoy equal rights and are generally proud to be a part of the Jewish state. As Sarah Zoabi, and Israeli Arab who appeared on the Israeli TV show “Master Chef” declared on national television: “I want to say to all the Arabs of Israel… We live in Paradise. Compared to other countries, to Arab countries – we live in paradise.” It’s a sentiment that many Israelis – including Israeli Arabs – share.

At a time when Saudi women are celebrating being given the right to drive for the very first time, Israeli women in contrast make up 60% of students completing a bachelor’s degree, 61% of students completing a master’s degree and 50% of students completing a doctorate. Israel’s Knesset is over 28% female, and 54% of judges in Israel are women. As Prince William will no doubt discover, that Israel is in tune with the modern world and its emphasis on human rights and freedoms.

5. The world is beginning to appreciate Israel more than ever.

Prince William has long been on the cutting edge of social trends, and his visit to Israel shows that the savvy prince can gauge public sentiment. While his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II has never visited the Jewish state, Prince William has seemed eager to go. His 2018 visit will coincide with a Gallup poll that recently showed nearly three quarters of Americans have a favorable view of Israel, a near record number.

In Prince William’s native Britain, public perceptions of Israel seem a little more complex. A 2015 survey about Britain’s attitudes towards Israel showed that Israel was seen both as one of the least admired countries by Britons, and also one of the most admired. Chatham House, a London- based think tank found that while some British people regarded Israel as the world’s second worst country (behind only North Korea), another cohort of Britons ranked it as the world’s 8th most admired nation. It seems that while some people in Britain really dislike the Jewish state, a large number take a more clear-eyed view, and appreciate Israel’s many admirable qualities.

Let’s hope that Prince William’s visit helps his compatriots – and people around the world – see Israel for what it really is: a vibrant, open, modern society that guarantees human rights and religious freedoms for all its citizens – a place where history is palpable, where visitors from around the world meet – and the eternal homeland of the Jewish people.