17 November 1977
Anwar Sadat's visit to Israel came about after he delivered a speech in Egypt stating that he would travel anywhere, "even Jerusalem," to discuss peace. In response, Menachem Begin declared that, if Israel thought that Sadat would accept an invitation, Israel would invite him.  Much to everyone's surprise, Anwar El Sadat thus became the first Arab leader to visit Israel, thereby implicitly recognizing Israel. Fellow Arabs worried that Sadat might abandon the Pan-Arab cause and seek a separate peace agreement with Israel.  As such, Arab opposition to the proposed visit was immediate and intense. The next day Palestinian students stormed the Egyptian embassy in Athens, and an Egyptian embassy in Beirut came under rocket attack. Sadat also had to contend with unexpected opposition inside his own government. Foreign Minister Ismail Fahmy, resigned when the trip was suddenly scheduled. "I am firmly against it," Fahmy told reporters. Sadat immediately offered Fahmy's job to Egypt's second-ranking diplomat, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Mohamed Riad. But he too resigned. Sadat's seemingly simple gesture had immediate impact. Prospects for Mid East peace grew more hopeful that at anytime since the founding of the modern state of Israel.  Indeed, Sadat's visit was the first step to negotiations such as the preliminary Cairo Conference in December 1977 and ultimately the Camp David Accords. Sources: "On This Day: 18 November." News24.com Sadat's "Sacred Mission" TIME. 28 November 1977. Sadat's "Sacred Mission" TIME Monday, Nov. 28, 1977 Image :www.touregypt.net/Village/sadat10.jpg