152. Editorial Note
On the evening of November 19, 1977, Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat arrived at Ben Gurion Airport for the first visit to Israel by an Arab head of state since Israel’s founding in 1948. The Israeli Government provided Sadat and his entourage a formal welcome at the airport with a 21-gun salute and the playing of the Egyptian and Israeli national anthems. Sadat greeted Israeli leaders both past and present at the airport, including Prime Minister Menachem Begin, President Ephraim Katzir, and former Prime Minister Golda Meir. Sadat stayed at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem during his 36-hour stay in Israel. He visited the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and the Israeli Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem during his stay. He also gave a speech in Arabic at the Knesset, calling for Israel’s withdrawal from territory acquired during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war as well as a permanent home for the Palestinians. A full translation of Sadat’s speech is in the New York Times, November 21, 1977, page 22. Begin followed Sadat’s speech with an overview of several issues relating to the Arab-Israeli dispute and noted that everything relating to the dispute was open to negotiation. A full translation of Begin’s speech is in the New York Times, November 21, 1977, p. 17.
On November 21, at the end of the visit, Begin and Sadat issued a communiqué to the press that expressed the need for a continued dialogue between Israel and Egypt that would lead to the signing of peace treaties in Geneva. During the news conference, Begin said, “During the visit, a momentous agreement was achieved already—no more war, no more bloodshed, no more attacks, and collaboration to avoid any event which may lead to such tragic developments.” The agreed communiqué and the transcript of the two leaders’ news conference and final statements are in the New York Times, November 22, 1977, page 16.