The visit of British royal new parents William and Kate, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, to meet victims of last year’s brush fire in Australia’s Blue Mountains, was interrupted on Wednesday by two men “pretending” to be Orthodox Jews, the UK Daily Mail reported on Thursday.
Pictures published by the Mail show the bearded men in traditional long black overcoats, wearing shades, tzitzit and black hats.
The Daily Mail said: “Two men were detained… one of whom was wearing what a witness earlier described as a bullet-proof vest. However pictures show that the vest is in fact made of mesh, with pro-Israel stickers attached. The men were seen in the village of Winmalee shortly after the Royals arrived to meet people who lost their homes in catastrophic bush fires which swept through the region six months ago.”
“One of the males was taken away by police, while another was let go. He was seen approaching a woman waiting at a bus stop and asked to use her mobile phone. In the lead-up to the dramatic incident the men were seen talking on headsets.”
David Berger, president of residents’ group Shalom Aleichem Blue Mountains, was quoted as saying that he believed the two were “pretending” to be Jewish.
“I don’t recognize them but I get the immediate feeling that they are not kosher, pretenders,” he said.
New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies CEO Vic Alhadeff also said he didn’t recognize the pair, adding, “No one in the office has set eyes on them.”
A New South Wales police spokeswoman said the two men, aged 37 and 21, were “stopped and searched” by officers at the scene.
“About 12.10pm police stopped and spoke to two men who were allegedly harassing members of the crowd gathered at the corner of Singles Ridge Road and Buena Vista Road, Winmalee,” she said. “They were stopped and searched and moved on from the area.”
After the kerfuffle, the Royals met and consoled many local families who suffered the loss of homes from the fires. Some 400 people gathered to meet them and tell their stories.
Miranda Hansen, 67, a widow who lost the home she built with her husband, spoke to them and was then quoted as saying, ‘The prince just said that they were very sorry that I lost my house. It was built by my husband and I – we actually built it brick by brick. He said that when my house is rebuilt they are going to come back for a cup of tea with me. Isn’t that lovely? They are really lovely people. For somebody who has been through such a lot of trauma, it is a real highlight. We are so happy that they care.”
Read more at THE ALGEMEINER.