Israel’s Parliament, the Knesset, earlier this week marked the 40th anniversary of Egyptian President Sadat’s historic visit to Jerusalem, which paved the way for peace between the two countries.
Egyptian Ambassador to Israel Hazem Khairat delivered a speech at the Knesset and said: “President Sadat`s insistence on waving the message of peace from the Knesset podium was unprecedented, and it was a symbol of the value of the shared life”. He also mentioned the Egyptian efforts to broker reconciliation between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, saying: “Egypt still carries the flag of peace in the region, and it is working to reach a compromise between the various Palestinian elements and factions in order to put them back on the road to peace negotiations.”
During a special Knesset session, Speaker Yuli Edelstain called on leaders of other Arab states to “follow in the footsteps of Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin. Colleagues, Parliament Speakers in Arab countries – you are invited! Our hand is extended in peace – to all our neighbours.”
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu compared Sadat’s visit to “seeing the first person on the moon,” adding that “in the 40 minutes it took for him to fly from Egypt to Israel, he changed history”.
Netanyahu suggested that Sadat should be an example for Palestinian leaders, saying he had “yet to meet a `Palestinian Sadat` who will declare his wish to end the conflict, recognise the State of Israel within any borders and support our right to live in peace”.
In response, Leader of the Opposition Isaac Herzog said: “We need not only a Palestinian Sadat, but an Israeli Begin as well”.