BBC Home
Explore the BBC
19 November  
Search ON THIS DAY by date
Go back one day Go forward one day  
Front Page |  Years |  Themes |  Witness
About This Site | Text Only
1977: Egyptian leader's Israel trip makes history
The president of Egypt, Anwar Sadat, has begun his trip to Israel - the first Arab leader ever to visit the Jewish state.

President Sadat's plane landed at Ben Gurion airport at the start of his 36-hour visit.

He was greeted by Israel's Prime Minister Menachim Begin and Israeli President Ephraim Katzir and a 21-gun salute was fired in his honour.

After the ceremony at the airport President Sadat was driven to Jerusalem for an hour-long meeting with Mr Begin.

Tomorrow he will address the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, with his speech broadcast live to hundreds of millions of people all over the world.

The Egyptian president will deliver his speech in Arabic - one of the Knesset's official languages.

Mr Begin will respond in Hebrew with a simultaneous translation provided for President Sadat.

His trip to Israel has stunned the international community.

Israel and Egypt have fought four wars and Israel still occupies the Sinai Peninsula, part of Egypt that it captured in the 1967 war.

The Egyptian leader's offer, in a speech to his parliament on 9 November, to travel to Israel was widely regarded as no more than a literary flourish.

When Prime Minister Begin responded by issuing an official invitation nobody believed Mr Sadat would accept.

His presence in Israel breaks an Arab policy of not dealing publicly with the Jewish state created in 1948.

In the wake of demonstrations around the world against Mr Sadat's visit, Israel is in a state of heightened alert and 10,000 security personnel are on duty.

 E-mail this story to a friend


Egypt's President Sadat  (second from left) and Israel's Prime Minister Begin (centre)
President Sadat is the first Arab leader to deal publicly with Israel



In Context
Anwar Sadat delivered his speech to the Knesset on 20 November 1977.

He told the Israeli parliament: "We really and truly welcome you to live among us in peace and security."

Talks started in Israel in November and eventually led to the Camp David agreement in March 1979.

President Sadat's overtures to Israel made him popular in the West - he and Menachim Begin were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1978.

But he was isolated and snubbed in the Arab world.

In October 1981 he was assassinated by soldiers at a military parade in Cairo.

Stories From 19 Nov


 
Search ON THIS DAY by date
Go back one day Go forward one day  

^^ back to top
Front Page |  Years |  Themes |  Witness
©MMVIII | News Sources | Privacy & Cookies Policy