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Anwar Sadat Luncheon Recognizes Egyptian President's Work Toward Peace With Israel

By Carrie Snurr

On September 14, the Anwar Sadat Congressional Gold Medal Committee hosted a luncheon to honor the late President Sadat and award Isaac Dabah on the behalf of the late Dov Lautman from Delta Galil for Lautman’s work at the Russell Senate Office building.

The Friedlander Group hosted the luncheon which featured speakers such as Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL) and Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) who shared their thoughts about Anwar Sadat and their support for awarding Sadat with the Congressional Gold Medal.

“We’re here for a common purpose. And that purpose is to say that the legacy of President Sadat lives on,” Cardin said. “ We believe it is absolutely appropriate [to honor Sadat]. When you think of who should be a recipient of that recognition in the United States you look for courageous leaders and President Sadat showed tremendous courage to visit Israel in 1977.”

Anwar Sadat Russel Senate Building Friedlander Group Congressional Gold Medal

(From left) Rabbi Elie Abadie, Jack Avital, H.E. Yasser Reda - Ambassador of Egypt, Isaac Dabah speak with each other during the inaugural Anwar Sadat Congressional Gold Medal Luncheon. (Photo: Friedlander Group)

Cardin and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) have co-sponsored a bill in the Senate while Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) and Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) introduced an identical bill in the House to award Sadat with the Congressional Gold Medal in recognition of his work toward peace with Israel in the Middle East.

“I want to thank the sponsor of the bipartisan bill to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat,” Egyptian Ambassador Yasser Reda said. “President Sadat’s achievement remains a cornerstone of regional peace. We are honoring a man whose public service still inspires all those who believe in the power of diplomacy.”

The Friedlander Group has led the effort to get the bills passed and hosted the luncheon in the Kennedy Caucus room. It’s CEO, Ezra Friedlander has worked with members of congress to award Sadat with the medal.

Several members of congress including Cardin, Wasserman-Schultz, Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX) and Stewart shared their support for the passage of the bill and of their admiration for the courage Sadat displayed in working toward reaching a peace agreement with Israel.

Sheila Jackson lee Anwar Sadat Congressional Gold Medal Friedlander Group Israel Egypt
(From left) H.E. Yasser Reda, Ambassador of Egypt, Isaac Dabah, U.S. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (speaking), Ezra Friedlander during remarks about former Egyptian president Anwar Sadat. (Photo: Friedlander Group)

“The man that we want to honor through this effort, is someone who demonstrated extraordinary leadership,” Stewart said. “Anwar Sadat was willing to stand up - and in a remarkable humble way - proved to the world that we was one of the great leaders on the world stage at that time. He had a vision that no one else had at that time.”

Dabah, the CEO of Delta Galil, received an award for Dov Lautman for his work with the clothing manufacturing company Delta Galil in expanding job opportunities to Middle East countries outside of Israel, such as in Egypt and Jordan.

The luncheon was held in the memory of the late Dov Lautman who founded Delta Galil in Israel and died in 2013. Lautman invested in Egypt after the signing of the peace treaty. Today, Delta Galil has recently completed construction of its fourth factory in Egypt.

Representative CHris Stewart Anwar Sadat Egypt Israel Friedlander Group Russel Building
(From left) H.E. Yasser Reda - Ambassador of Egypt, Isaac Dabah, U.S. Representative Chris Stewart, Ezra Friedlander, Sol Goldner. Stewart is a sponsor of the House bill that would award Sadat with the congressional gold medal in recognition of his work toward peace with Israel. (Photo: Friedlander Group)

“Anwar Sadat was a true visionary who had true courage to change course and reach out to the Israeli people and seek peace,” Dabah said. “Dov Lautman was a deep believer in coexistence between Israel and its neighbors. Given the opportunity, he was a pioneer.”

Sadat was the president of Egypt and participated in the Camp David Accords. The Accords led to a peace agreement between Egypt and Israel. Egypt became the first Middle East nation to recognize Israel as a country. Sadat made the first visit to Israel as a leader in the Middle East 40 years ago in 1977 before signing the peace agreement the following year.

He reached out to Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin with hopes of achieving peace between the two countries after years of war and violence.

Next year marks the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Camp David Accords between Israel and Egypt. President Jimmy Carter helped negotiate the agreement between the two countries in a series of meetings at Camp David in Maryland.

Joseph Kennedy Friedlander Group Anwar Sadat Egypt Israel Congressional Gold Medal
(From left) Sergio Gor, Congressional Staffer, Andrew Friedman, U.S. Representative Joe Kennedy (Speaking), Joseph B. Stamm, Rabbi Elie Abadie, Ivette Dabah, Ambassador of Egypt H.E. Yasser Reda, Isaac Dabah, Ezra Friedlander. (Photo: Friedlander Group)

"We are marking the fortieth anniversary of Anwar Sadat's visit to Israel," Wasserman Schultz said. "That is my earliest memory of the plight that Israel face. I remember being so hopeful. It was the first time in generations that there had been an overture from the Arab world to move peace forward. Sadat pledged to move forwad with an open mind and open heart."

Carter negotiated the peace agreement, at one point taking the two leaders to Gettysburg National Park in hopes of drawing parallels between the United States’ Civil War and the struggle in the Middle East.

Sadat was assassinated in 1981 in an attack that killed 11 other people during a parade honoring Egypt’s crossing of the Suez canal.

“Peace was not achieved without sacrifice.” Reda said. “There was a stiff opposition both at home and among Egypt’s allies but President Sadat knew that difficult choices and change are rarely comfortable. He had a firm conviction that the status quo was no longer acceptable.”


Carrie Snurr is an editorial intern for The Washington Diplomat.



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