Prince William visits Israel's Holocaust memorial

JERUSALEM (AP) — Prince William began his visit to Israel today with an emotional tour of the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, a soccer game with Arab and Jewish youth and an introduction to Tel Aviv's vibrant start-up scene.

The prince is the first member of the British royal family to pay an official visit to Israel. Though the trip is being billed as nonpolitical, the prince is meeting with Israeli and Palestinian leaders and visiting sites at the heart of the century-old conflict.

He started off the day with a visit to Yad Vashem, where he met with two survivors who escaped Nazi Germany for the safety of Britain.

"It has been a profoundly moving experience to visit Yad Vashem today," the prince wrote in the memorial's guestbook. "It is almost impossible to comprehend this appalling event in history. Every name, photograph and memory recorded here is a tragic reminder of the unimaginable human cost of the Holocaust and of the immense loss suffered by the Jewish people."

He noted with pride his great-grandmother had been recognized as a Righteous Among the Nations, the highest honor Israel grants to non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust.

Princess Alice hid three members of the Cohen family in her palace in Athens during the Nazi occupation of Greece in World War II. Thanks to her efforts, the Cohen family survived and today lives in France.

The princess died in 1969, and in 1988 her remains were brought to Jerusalem. Prince William plans to visit her grave site later in the week as part of his tour of Jerusalem landmarks.

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