WATCH: President Rivlin’s Chareidi Chief Of Staff Refuses To Shake Hands With Prince William

Prince William with his arm outstretched to shake hands with Israel President Rivlin’s Chief of Staff, Mrs. Rivka Ravitz

In what can be described as nothing else but a royal faux pas, His Royal Highness Prince William upon his meeting with President Reuven Rivlin and his staff in Jerusalem on Tuesday, 13 Tammuz, tried to shake the hand of Mr. Rivlin’s Chief of Staff, Mrs. Rivka Ravitz. She is a daughter-in-law of the late MK Rabbi Avraham Ravitz z”l, the founder of the Degel HaTorah Party.

While one would more than expect a member of Britain’s royal family to be well informed regarding local custom and ceremonial protocol, it appears no one told the prince that the president’s chief of staff is a Chareidi woman, one who would not shake the hand of a male.

The prince extended his hand to Mrs. Ravitz as he moved down the formal procession, but Mrs. Ravitz did not respond. Prince William continued down the reception line in a respectable fashion as one would expect of royalty, not making an issue of the occurrence, which many may have not even noticed.

This isn’t the first time Mrs. Ravitz refused to shake the hand of a famous world leader. In 2010, YWN reported on the visit to Israel by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Upon his meeting with President Rivlin, the PM also tried shaking the hand of Ravitz – who politely refused and explain the reason for not doing so.

President Rivlin’s Chief of Staff, Mrs. Rivka Ravitz

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)


  1. I would think that the prince, coming from England has had interactions with the frum community. As he gave his hand and she refused it, he realized his mistake and moved on.

  2. I’m not a posek, but I would think that if there are any situations where it would be permissible to be mekel on hilchos negiah, this would be among the top! Who knows what damage might have been caused by this situation?

  3. You are allowed to shake the hand of someone of the opposite gender!!You are allowed to sit next to a woman!! Why do people make up Halachot and cause scenes??!!

  4. What a totally misleading headline.
    Add the word charedi WOMAN. Having said that; I will add good for her, what a zchus. And she was polite.
    I would think this helps reputation of chareidi -unless it gets manipulated.

  5. Yankelle, shaking hands with the opposite gender is a matter of great controversy, even when it’s just a courtesy, and not a expression of a affection (Derech Chiba). Please don’t dismiss it so quickly.

  6. To Mam halacha is not black and white. While there are those who are lenient for shaking hands many poskim hold its forbidden. As to sitting next to a woman. I fly frequently, people are always requesting a seat change. Usually, its to sit next to a family member or a medical issue. Why is there a problem to accommodate someones frumkite? If I have to sit next to a woman I nonchalantly put a pillow between us.

  7. MAM, It is a clear psak halacha in Shulchan Aruch (Even HoEzer 21) that negia is assur. I am sorry you were misinformed. And there are certain instances in which it would even be Yehareg v’al Yaavor, but this is not one of them.

  8. Man the Steipler and other Gedolei Poskei Yisrael held otherwise. I am sure your level of frumkeit surpasses the Steipler for you to make such a vein statement

  9. “Cute, for the old etzelnilk Rivlin to host a member of the Royal family”

    But he was 8 years old when the state was created and the Etzel was disbanded ?!

  10. Where did the Stiepler say it’s Yehareg Veal Yaavor to shake a woman’s hand in a social setting? I would like to see a written source in a Sefer to this Psak if anyone knows. Thanks in advance. It’s not יהרג ואל יעבור unless it’s done דרך חיבה. I’m sure there are other shitos but that’s not how we posken. There is a famous shaila in the mechaber whether a doctor can check the pulse of his wife wile a niddah, he rules not, but lahalacha we hold it’s mutar. Besides, in this case here with the prince, what happened to the fifth Chelek of Shulchan Aruch everyone always talks about to deviate from stated Halacha? Did she ask her Rov before causing this to happen?

  11. Mam – I didn’t know you’re a posek?

    Next time I would advise her to consult you or others here. Perhaps you and Yankel can advise her on how to react to the popes visits as well.

    FYI – This is not the first time and won’t be the last, she is pretty much experienced on all these situations.. The only ones creating an issue are the other Jews..

  12. No big deal. The Royal Family are always briefed when meeting with frum people whether they shake hands or not. Prince William would have realised straight away when she didn’t put out her hand. Why the Israelis weren’t more organised and did not brief him beforehand is the real question.

  13. she clearly thought that the prince had been briefed as i’m sure happens on many occasions. this was a mistake and most likely not hers. She’s a ehrlicher woman she’s not looking to make problems.

  14. clearly, the prince was not briefed and she ought to know better than to be in a receiving line. two errors led to an unfortunate situation.

  15. Simple: this is called KIDDUSH HASHEM. Why? Because other Jews who think gosh dont want to embarass someone this is ROYALTY, (BTW It’s much more lenient for a man to shake hand with a woman than vice versa yes there are heters for kiruv etc its coming from the man so they know their intentions) I think she in past has explained very nicely and this time didnt have time. I have always regretted giving into not wanting awkwardness when I shook hands in my kiruv work and whenever I have held back and politely explained they have been very nice and accepting. best to hold something in each hand!!

  16. She should not have placed herself in this situation. Having to excuse oneself for religious purposes should be reserved for unavoidable situations. In this case she should not have been there. She knew it was coming. This was no Kiddush Hashem.

  17. Pilpel harif- he writes it in his sefer called קריינא דאגרתא. I don’t have the sefer to state the exact page though I read it there. If you have the sefer and look for it you’ll find it.

  18. Pilpel harif – I don’t think the 5th chelek not written by the Mechaber can argue with one of the 4 he did write. The 5th covers items not mentioned in the first 4.

  19. What is more newsworthy here is that a haredi lady is the best-qualified person to be the President’s Chief of Staff. Which university did she go to? Clearly, anti haredi sentiment does not exist in the president’s residence.

  20. why does every amhaaretz beomce the grester posek all of the sudden
    i’d venture to to say that anyone commenting with the words “your allowed to shake hands of the opposite gender/making uo halachot”
    or “5th chelek in shu”a” or “mekel on shomer negia”
    or ” we hold it is mutar to check pulse of ishto nida” (AGAV WE DO NOT see igros moshe on dofek of ishto)
    or ” regret shaking hands when i had to in kiruv work”
    i bet none of these posters have ever opened a shu”a or worse, women poskim
    do yourselves a favour and stick to your 5th chelek of shu”a (that’s the chelek where the amhaaretz can say whatever they want based on their vast daas torah)

  21. BH, this is a big kiddush Hashem, the embarrassment she might have gone through which is a huge mesiras nefesh for kedusha and dvar halacha should be mezake this generation to Bias Moshiach and the geula shleima!

  22. There is apparently a book of Protocol with the British Royal Family and one of the protocols is the Queen does not shake hands with a Rabbi, this is a known things to the British Royal Family book of Protocols

  23. You can selectively choose to ignore hundreds of years of precedent where rabbonim have been willing to provide exceptions on the issue of negiah in cases of meetings with royalty, heads-of-state and circumstances where a perceived lack of respect or deference might have put yidden at risk. Fortunately, there are likely to be no adverse collateral effects here but the “advance staff” and protocol experts on BOTH sides should have done a better job here. She might have used a nod of the head or verbal greeting to head off the otherwise awkward “no=handshake moment”.

  24. I actually think it’s great PR. After all the news stories of men not wanting to sit next to a woman on a plane, the public outcry is always that they are being discriminatory against women and thus women are perceived as second-class, with this outlook magnified by the secular media.

    So let’s proclaim loud and clear, the rules cut both ways, we are proud of our customary gender separation and reserve touch for those closest to us as appropriate. Even a prince doesn’t get a pass, as status is irrelevant.

  25. Rav Avigdor Miller believed that Modern Orthodoxy was like another Reform, Conservative.. Judaism and some of you prove it here. Picking and choosing halacha is not ok.
    “Mammele” is so right. We are not looking to get away with it. We are proud.
    I work with Modern Orthodox people and they are not shomer negiah and then have all kinds of reasons and excuses similar to you guys’. Halacha is clear about these things. It’s not a huge puzzle.
    You’re either frum or you’re not.
    What we do while keeping halacha is not our concern. If Prince William will be turned off by it, we still have no choice.

  26. הרב הדומה למלאך זללה said to my grandfather back in the 1930’s:
    The reform are טמא
    The conservative jews are a אב הטומאה
    & The modern orthodox are אבי אבות הטומאה

  27. Any Rav, alive or niftar, who would mindlessly characterize over a million MO yidden who are shomrei torah umitzvos as somehow no better than reform or worse should be ignored.

  28. She is absolutely “No hero” and certainly not a “Kiddish Hashem” She knew perfectly well what will take place, She should have never been there, Unless she wants to play ignorance then she has no business being in that position in government, shame on her, A visit from a future king of England she should have done her homework.
    (Just my opinion)

  29. Well, what we certainly don’t need- is a portrait photo of the rebetzen on YWN! (Those of us with kosher internet can’t access the youtube link anyway….) just saying…

  30. The majority of MO Jews I personally know have a pick & choose policy regarding yiddishkeit. And they have already a assimilation rate even though its small bh.

  31. What he meant was that no one drops everything at once, rather its a slow process its starts with MO then open orthodox then its total shmad rl.

  32. Mrs Rawitz, you have all my respect. Bravo!
    Same to Mr Barka in Jerusalem: Bravo to withstand the political pressure.
    UK is in love with the Arabs since always, but cannot stand the Jews since they were kicked out
    by Irgun and Mr Begin. This man from London just came to show support to Abbas and alike.

  33. Gadolhadorah, she gave a very visible nod of her head instead of shaking his hand. He seemed to understand the situation.

  34. Putin,
    ah..It’s much more satisfying and guilt free for many to remain vocally orthodox while operating as fifth columnists or enemy agents from within, these days

  35. Hello. Did anybody here bother to properly WATCH the video. Instead of shaking hands, Mrs. Ravitz did something as good. She curtsied to the Prince. That was just fine. He understood and appreciated that, and moved on. She exceeded all expectations in her response.