Bipartisan Legislation Honors Sadat with Congressional Gold Medal
President Anwar Sadat addressing the Knesset in 1977
WASHINGTON – The House and Senate introduced on Wednesday bipartisan legislation to honor former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat with the Congressional Gold Medal. The bill was presented by Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) in addition to Representatives Chris Stewart (R-UT), and U.S. Representative Grace Meng (D-NY).
Sadat was the first Arab leader to make peace with Israel and his 1977 visit to Jerusalem played a critical role in reaching out to the Israeli public. “Awarding him the Congressional Gold Medal honors this legacy and underscores the enduring commitment of the United States to upholding the Peace Treaty between Egypt and Israel,” Cardin noted in a statement.
On October 6 1981, the Egyptian leader was assassinated during a military parade. “Awarding Sadat with the Congressional Gold Medal celebrates and gives homage to Sadat’s courageous, remarkable, and enduring imprint on history,” Hatch said.
The honor is especially timely given that this year is the 40th anniversary of Sadat’s famous speech at the Knesset in Jerusalem.
The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian honor bestowed by the legislative branch. Both Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin received the Nobel Prize in 1978 due to their peace efforts.
“What is most remarkable about Sadat’s diplomacy is the dramatic first step he took toward peace by visiting Israel before negotiations commenced. This symbolic yet courageous action and his speech to the Knesset electrified the world at large riveted the people of Israel generating goodwill which significantly contributed to the success of the peace negotiations,” said Ezra Friedlander, CEO of The Friedlander Group, who helped to coordinate the Congressional award.