Thirty-five years after former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat's monumental visit to Israel, the state archives on Tuesday released confidential files pertaining to the visit, which shed light on the process leading to the historic peace agreement between the two countries.
On Nov. 18, 1977, two days before Sadat's visit, then-Prime Minister Menachem Begin told the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, "We will do everything in our power to ensure he leaves Jerusalem a happy man."
Three months before Sadat's visit, Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu told Begin that Sadat was prepared for Israeli and Egyptian representatives to meet. In October 1977, Ceaușescu told Sadat that he was impressed with Begin's character and his ability to advance the peace process.
According to Egyptian Foreign Minister Ismail Fahmi at the time, Sadat devised the idea of visiting the Israeli Knesset while he was in Romania.
The Mossad reported to Begin that if he gave Sadat his word of honor that his lands would be returned, the Egyptian president would be willing to discuss all the other issues.
The Camp David Accords were signed by Sadat and Begin on Sept. 17, 1978, at the White House following 13 days of secret negotiations at Camp David, mediated by then-U.S. President Jimmy Carter.