Prince Harry is facing backlash over a decision to invite Israeli soldiers for his biennial Invictus Games. The injured military veterans from Israel will participate for the very first time in the international sports competition set for 2022 in Germany.
According to The Times of Israel, wounded soldiers from the Israel Defense Forces were supposed to observe the Invictus Games in The Hague this coming May. However, the foundation announced last week, through Prince Harry, that it will not proceed with the event because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The British Muslim community, as well as the Muslim groups who have been part of the Invictus Games for years, are apparently upset over the decision. Per the Daily Mail, the Israel military is being investigated for its alleged war crimesin the Palestinian Territories.
Abdel Bari Atwan, an Arab journalist, told the publication that it was as if Prince Harry is provoking the Arabs. However, reports from the The Times of Israel said that it's not clear if Prince Harry was actually involved in the decision to bring in the Israeli soldiers.
Israel's invitation was apparently pushed by a "high-ranking U.S. politician" in a discussion with Richard Smith, the Invictus Games' chief executive, and Mark Regev, the Israeli ambassador to the United Kingdom. Daily Mail reported that the inclusion of the Israeli military team was settled on principle but as of March 10, the team apparently received financial support from the Genesis Philanthropy Group, a London-based charity owned by Russian tycoon Mickhail Fridman. Reports also stated that Fridman has several corruption charges against him and he's also in the MI-6 file that ties his activities to some officials with the Kremlin.
The Invictus Games was launched by Prince Harry and some of his friends in the military in 2014 to benefit the wounded and the sick veterans. It's been an endeavor so close to the Duke of Sussex owing to his time as a military serviceman for 10 years.
Meanwhile, Prince Harry and Bon Jovi released the official Invictus Games anthem, which was recorded in London in late February. The song, titled "Unbroken," was supposed to be played at the Olympic-style event this May.
According to People, "Unbroken" was originally used for an American documentary on veteran soldiers with PTSD. However, he offered this to Prince Harry and suggested that real soldiers should record the hit.
Prince Harry apparently also sang a few notes on the anthem. Bon Jovi said that, like Prince William, the Duke of Sussex has a "good set of pipes."