JERUSALEM (Apr. 1)
The Cabinet formally ratified the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty today and approved Premier Menachem Begin’s two-day visit to Cairo beginning tomorrow. The weekly session ended on a festive note with the ministers toasting Israel, the Jewish people and peace. The treaty now goes to the Knesset for ratification, another formal procedure that will be duplicated by the Egyptian Parliament after which the pact will be in effect.
Cabinet Secretary Arye Naor announced the ratification. No ministers were opposed but it is not Known if any abstained. Each minister was presented with a photocopy of the historic document as a memento of the occasion.
Naor confirmed that Eliahu Ben-Elissar, director general of the Prime Minister’s Office, arrived in Cairo today to make the final arrangements for Begin’s visit. He said Ben-Elissar confirmed that there was no substance’ to re ports last night that the Egyptians would have preferred Begin to postpone his trip because of the deteriorating relations between Egypt and its fellow members of the Arab League who adamantly oppose the treaty with Israel.
Naor said Ben-Elissar informed him that the Egyptians want the visit to take place as scheduled and are cooperating fully with Israelis in preparing the ceremonial reception for Begin and his entourage tomorrow. He said that Israeli flags will be flying all over Cairo.
The Cabinet also heard reports from Begin on his last meetings with President Carter and President Anwar Sadat before leaving Washington and on the U.S. Israeli memorandum of understanding signed last week in Washington by Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan and Secretary of State Cyrus Vance. Defense Minister Ezer Weizman and Finance Minister Simcha Ehrlich also briefed the ministers on various aspects of the treaty and its aftermath. The Cabinet decided to establish a special committee to supervise implementation of the treaty. It will be headed by Ben-Elissar and include representatives of all of the ministries.
Meanwhile, Ben-Elissar arrived in Cairo this morning preceded by a press plane carrying some 150 journalists who will cover Begin’s visit. Both flights were delayed by a wildcat strike of Ben Gurion Airport workers that stranded thousands of passengers. (See separate story.)
BEGIN’S TENTATIVE SCHEDULE IN EGYPT
According to the present schedule, which is subject to change, Begin will be welcomed at Cairo West International Airport at 11:30 a.m. local time tomorrow. An Egyptian military band will play Israel’s national anthem, Hatikva, for the first time. The Premier’s motorcade will drive through Cairo for lunch at the Tahra Palace Hotel.
During the afternoon, Begin and his party are expected to visit the Egyptian Museum, attend prayers at a local synagogue and then take an excursion to the pyramids at Giza outside Cairo. Begin will attend a dinner hosted by Sodat at the Abadin Palace tomorrow night The Egyptians have been careful not to bill it as a state dinner.
The first visit to Cairo by an Israeli Premier has been relegated to the back pages of Egyptian news papers and local radio stations referring to it quoted Israeli sources. Contrary to previous expectations, Begin has not been invited to address the Egyptian peoples Assembly (Parliament) even though Sodat addressed the Knesset when he visited Jerusalem in November, 1977 Begin will meet with Sodat for political talks and may hold a press conference before flying back to Jerusalem Tuesday afternoon.
No Cabinet members will accompany Begin on his trip. But he has invited about 50 guests, including American Jewish leaders, representatives of Israel’s armed forces and of the pre-statehood underground fighters–Hagonah, Irgun and the Stern group; also representatives of Jewish immigrants from Egypt, parents of fallen Israeli soldiers, former Foreign Minister Abba Eban and his wife, Suzy, who was born in Egypt, and Jewish community leaders of Middle Eastern origin, headed by Nissim Gaon, leader of the World Sephardi Federation.
A REAL PEACE TREATY
Begin, discussing his relations with Sodat, told reporters yesterday, “We made progress not only by signing the peace treaty but in the personal relations between us as well ” Meanwhile, Weizman, who returned from the U,S. last Friday, stressed that the treaty signed March 26 in Washington is a real peace treaty. “It is not a cease-fire agreement nor an interim agreement nor a separation of forces agreement. It is a peace treaty, and for what, we, the people of my generation have fought 30 years. This is peace. This is a new era and we shall have to get used to it, “Weizman said.
Ehrlich, who returned with Weizman, said the matter of economic cooperation between Israel and Egypt would be taken op only after the two countries exchange ambassadors 10 months hence.