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Jihan Sadat Says Israel Wants Peace with the Arabs

Jihan Sadat, widow of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, said here Tuesday that she hoped Palestine Liberation Organization chief Yasir Arafat “will continue in the footsteps of my late husband and that Israel will recognize the PLO.” She said that “Israel is willing to have peace with the Arabs.”

Sadat spoke at a press conference at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel where she was baited by an obviously hostile reporter for an Arab newspaper who asked why she agreed to raise funds for Ben Gurion University in Israel, and why she is not fasting on Ramadan, the period of fasting of the Moslem faith.

Sadat said, “I am ready to do the same (raise funds) for any university in the world which proposes peace and understanding between Arabs and Israelis. I just follow in the steps of my late husband.” In reply to the second question, she said “I fasted yesterday. Tonight I shall eat.”

Discussing peace, she said. “I hope the time will come when all people concerned will gather around the table and find a peaceful solution. Let anyone have the courage — I don’t say the same courage as my late husband — and go to Israel and say that he wants peace. Israel is willing to have peace with the Arabs.”

She said her husband’s successor, President Hosni Mubarak, has his own style but continues the peace process initiated by Anwar Sadat.

Asked if she felt isolated in the Arab world, Sadat said “I feel isolated only from the narrow minded Arab people, not from everyone.”

Speaking of Islamic fundamentalism and its efforts to block the pursuit of women’s rights in Egypt, Sadat said, “Unfortunately, fundamentalists are everywhere, including Israel.” She said “My deepest wish is to see peace between Israel and the Arab people.”

Sadat spoke Tuesday evening at a dinner honoring Paul Ivanier, president and chief executive officer of the IVACO Steel Co. who received an honorary Ph.D. degree from Ben Gurion University earlier in the day. Ivanier, who founded the Center for Robotic Research and Management at Ben Gurion University, said in his acceptance speech, “The university is the fulcrum and business is the lever. Together they can move the world.”

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