Washington (Oct. 6)
President Regan, praising the late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat as a “humanitarian unafraid to make peace,” said that the American people were “horrified” by the “cowardly” murder of the Egyptian President.
“America has lost a close friend, the world has lost a great statesman, mankind has lost a champion of peace,” Reagan declared as he appeared on the north portico of the White House accompanied by his wife Nancy.
The President, who apparently knew of Sad at’s death earlier, did not make a statement until it was officially announced in Cairo today by Vice President Hosni Mubarak. Reagan also praised Sadat as a man of “courage” who sought to bring peace to the world. He noted that Sadat was “admired and loved” by the American people.
GHORBAL: EGYPT WILL CONTINUE SADAT’S POLICIES
Just a few minutes before the President’s nationally televised appearance, Egyptian Ambassador Ashraf Ghorbal appeared in front of his Embassy here confirming Sadat’s death and declaring that Egypt would continue to follow Sadat’s path under the “leadership” of Mubarak.
Ghorbel said Egypt would fulfill “its international obligations” and will continue to involve themselves in the Camp David peace process working in close partnership with the U.S.
JEWISH LEADERS EXPRESS GRIEF AND SHOCK
American Jewish leaders, meanwhile, expressed grief and shock at the assassination of the Egyptian leader. Maynard Wishner, president of the American Jewish Committee, said that “with the rest of the world, we mourn the death of a man of courage and peace. We condemn those responsible for this dastardly act of assassination, the tragic consequences of which can only be to further destabilize the Middle East.”
Henry Siegman, executive director of the American Jewish Congress, said he hoped the United States would “fully absorb the implications of this latest evidence of the tragic instability endemic” to the Mideast and that “we pray that the progress” toward peace between Egypt and Israel “will not be undone” and will remain Sadat’s “great legacy” to Egypt and to the world.
Charlotte Jacobson, chairman of the World Zionist Organization — American section, called the assassination a “catastrophe,” praising “the influence and example of this brave leader and farsighted seeker of peace.” She said the killing was “a gun-punctuated reminder” of a region “where the fate of nations hangs on the trigger finger of the assassin.”
Maxwell Greenberg, chairman of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, said Sadat “pursued” peace vigorously until he was “cut down by terrorists whose very act underscores the destructivess of hate and the fragility of peace.” He urged, in addition to suitable mourning, dedication “to the eradication of terrorism.”
‘A SINGULAR FIGURE’
Jack Spitzer, president of B’nai B’rith International, described Sadat as “a singular figure” who had the courage and vision to seek peace with Israel “and to continue on that path despite enormous opposition throughout the Arab world.” Spitzer said “We can only hope that President Sadat’s successor will honor his memory and his dream by continuing to build the structure of peace” that he began.
Edgar Bronfman, president of the World Jewish Congress, in a telegram to the Egyptian Ambassador to the U.S., Ashraf Ghorbal, said the death of Sadat “is a loss to the world of a great statesman and a man of incredible vision and bravery.”
Shirley Leviton, president of the National Council of Jewish Women, said Sadat’s “action brought a ray of hope into efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East.” She added that his death “is a matter of grave concern to all peace loving people.”
Frieda Lewis, president of Hadassah, described the slain Egyptian President as “a noble and courageous leader of his people who chose to pursue the path of peace regardless of the risks and the obstacles, because he kept before him the vision of a better world for all people.”
MOVED DREAM CLOSER TO REALITY
Morton Mandel, president of the Council of Jewish Federations, said that the Jewish Federations of North America “have always dreamt of a time when Israel would truly be free of the threat of war and instead could cultivate the pursuits of peace. President Sadat in his efforts helped move that dream closer to reality.”
Joseph Tabachnik, president of the Chicago Board of Rabbis, called Sadat “a great world leader. His words, ‘no more war’, rang out with prophetic force as he signed the Camp David accords. We pray that the Egyptian people and the Israelis will continue the peace process which will serve as a memorial to this great leader.”
Rabbi Joseph Sternstein, president of the American Zionist Federation, said the “tragic assassination” highlighted the “fragility” of international pacts in the context of autocratic regimes, adding that Sadat “will be remembered as a man of peace.”
Harold Jacobs, president of the National Council of Young Israel, said “Once again, the forces of violence and terrorism” have cut down “another Arab friend of the United States. He expressed hope the murder would not undermine the Camp David accords.
Rabbi Sol Roth, president of the Rabbinical Council of America, called Sadat “a great statesmen” who made “a primary contribution to the cause of peace in the Middle East.” Calling the assassination “a terrible shock,” he said he hoped and prayed “this terrible act” will not affect the peace process … but will bring the nations of the area closer” to the goals of peace.
Ivan Novick, president of the Zionist Organization of America, called Sadat “an extraordinary example of Arab moderation” by his acceptance of the reality of
Israel. Novick said the United States must understand that if a strong nation like Egypt “can be threatened by fanatic terrorist elements,” the United States must “exercise extreme caution before relying on less stable and more vulnerable nations, such as Saudi Arabia.”
Howard Squadron, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said the murder was that of “a man of peace, courage and vision,” embodying “the spirit of reconciliation and rapprochement among nations.”
Rabbi William Berkowitz, president of the Jewish National Fund, said the “shocking death” dramatized “how fragile” the peace is between Egypt and Israel. He said “now the whole world is wondering if Egypt” will continue in the path of peace and reconciliation begun “heroically” by Sadat.
Rabbi Benjamin Kreitman, United Synagogue of America executive vice president, said it was hoped that those who take on the mantle of Sadat’s leadership “will follow in his footsteps and seek to carry on” the peace process he started.
A similar hope that Sadat’s successors would “continue in the courageous paths to peace” initiated by Sadat was expressed by the American Professors for Peace in the Middle East.
Roselle Silberstein, president of American Mizrachi Women, said Sadat’s assassination “is a global tragedy” and that his death “puts the entire Middle East into a new perspective.” She added that “We will pray to see Mr. Sadat’s dream of peace fulfilled. Only then can his death be giver meaning.”
Nathan Peskin, executive director of The Workmen’s Circle, said Sadat’s assassination “is particularly regrettable in view of his stabilizing influence in the Middle East, in world affairs and as a statesman whose guiding hand will be missed.”
SLAIN BY UNGODLY MEN
Julius Berman, president of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, said the Orthodox Jewish community “is shocked and saddened that the hands of ungodly and undisciplined men of violence have felled one of the great architects and champions of world peace. ” Berman added that Sadat “was a daring and courageous statesman of unusual courage and stature who stood as a wall against the forces of nihilism and darkness.”
Donald Slaiman, president of the Jewish Labor Committee, called the assassination of Sadat “a tragic loss for the cause of peace and underscores that those who appease terrorism are undermining the survival of organized society.”