Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will carry a “get well” letter from Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef when he meets Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak Wednesday, one day later than originally planned.
The Arabic-language newspaper Al Quds al-Arabi has confirmed that Mubarak is ill, but it is not known if he has cancer, as reported by an Israeli newspaper last week. He underwent gall bladder surgery in Germany in March but suddenly flew to Paris last week, ostensibly to meet with French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Al Quds reported he underwent medical tests while visiting.
The letter from Rabbi Ovadia, former Sephardic chief rabbi of Israel and one of the most revered rabbis in the country, wishes Mubarak a “full [and] speedy recovery” by the ”Creator of the universe.” The letter was addressed to “your Highness, President of Egypt Muhammad Hosni Mubarak, may his glory be exalted.”
The rabbi and Shas leader Interior Minister Eli Yishai are known to have close relations with the Egyptian president, whose son Gamal is considered to be the front-runner to fill Mubarak’s position.
Prime Minister Netanyahu will meet Mubarak Wednesday to discuss the floundering efforts by the United States to bring the Palestinian Authority to sit down with Israel for face-to-face talks over the proposed new Arab country within Israel’s borders.
The two leaders will meet in the Sharm el-Sheikh Red Sea resort, and Mubarak reportedly will welcome PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in Cairo on Thursday.