Haifa Square to be Named in Honor of Egyptian President Sadat
A new square named in honor of the late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat will be dedicated in the center of the Ramat Begin neighborhood in Haifa on Tuesday. Sadat, the first Arab leader to sign a peace agreement with Israel, was assassinated in 1981 by members of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Taking part in the ceremony will be Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav, Egypt's Ambassador to Israel Yasser Rida and Herzl Makov, the Director General of the Menachem Begin Heritage Center. It was the late Prime Minister Menachem Begin who invited Sadat to address the Knesset in Jerusalem and who eventually signed a treaty with him in Washington D.C.
When the decision was first made public in 2008, Mayor Yahav said, "This decision is a form of appreciation for the peaceful initiative of Sadat, who visited Haifa in 1979."
In September of that year, during his historic visit to Israel, Sadat stepped out of his vehicle at a Haifa intersection, walked up to local residents and well-wishers who lined the streets in his honor, and shook hands with them. There were Israelis of all types lining the Haifa streets along Sadat's route from the Mediterranean port to the Carmel hills cheering his arrival, according to historical records.
Initially, the city wanted to name a square in Ramat Golda after the Egyptian leader. However, it was found to be more
The current President of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, has not visited Israel.
appropriate that Sadat Square be located in the neighborhood named after Prime Minister Begin. In their decision regarding the square naming, the Haifa City Council said, "Anwar Sadat was found worthy of commemoration in respect of his decisive contribution to moving the peace process forward in partnership with Menachem Begin, of blessed memory. The leadership of these two men brought about a dramatic change in the history of the State of Israel. Sadat acted with determination and courageous leadership, and paid for it with his life."
The timing of the naming ceremony is significant, as well, as Sadat was born on December 25 in 1918.
In contrast to Sadat, the current President of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, has not visited Israel at all, with the exception of the funeral of the late Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin. Mubarak took the reins in 1981, in the wake of Sadat's assassination.