Special Interview the Man Behind Sadat’s Visit

Now that President Anwar Sadat’s visit in Jerusalem has become an auspicious chapter in Middle East history, journalist Wolf Blitzer was asked how he felt about his own role in helping to bring it about.

“I wish you wouldn’t write anything about that,” he told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “I want to stay in the background. I am not being modest but I think a journalist should not be part of the news or try to become the news. The way it is going now in some places, journalist are becoming more important than the chosen governmental leaders.”

QUESTION STAYED WITH SADAT

However, it was Sadat who said that Blitzer, Washington correspondent for the Jerusalem Post, asked him a question at a news conference at Blair House on April 6, following his six hours of talks with President Carter which “had been fermenting in my mind all along” on direct Egyptian communications with Israel. Sadat revealed this in an interview with the editor of the publication, “World Review.”

Blitzer, also editor of the Near East Report, had asked Sadat that inasmuch as the Egyptian President was talking of moves towards peace, would he not allow Israeli journalists to go to Egypt and Egyptian journalists to Israel as a start toward normal relations. Taken aback by this question, as the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported at the time, Sadat laughed a little and then said that he himself would not mind such an exchange but conditions in Egypt with its background of 29 years of war and hostility were not ripe for such visits.

Sadat said much the same Monday in Jerusalem when he was asked whether Israeli journalists could now go to Cairo. Sadat replied, “not yet,” but he said that when Israeli Premier Menachem Begin comes to Egypt, he undoubtedly will be accompanied by Israeli journalists.

BLITZER RECEIVED WIDE ATTENTION

Blitzer has received wide media attention here and abroad since the Sadat visit. His reaction is, “I am not enshrined in the Hall of Fame. I still file for the Jerusalem Post and work on the Near East Report.” When he was first asked about his role before Sadat went to Jerusalem, he said, “I’ve been happy ever since Sadat said he was going. And I’m happy in my own little way to have done something.”

Blitzer, 29, was born in Buffalo, N.Y. of Jewish immigrants from Poland. He lives in Bethesda, Md. with his wife, Lynn, an assistant buyer for a department store chain. He received his Bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo and his Master’s of Arts from Johns Hopkins University’s School for Advanced International Studies in Washington. While studying Hebrew in Israel, he became a correspondent there for Reuters news service. In November, 1973 he joined the Jerusalem Post as its Washington correspondent.

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