When then-Egyptian President Anwar Sadat visited in 1977, Israelis could hardly believe what was happening.

By Aviel Schneider |
Photo: Moshe Milner/GPO

“It’s like a dream”, “this cannot be true”, “it’s the most dramatic moment in the history of the State of Israel”. Those were but a few of the reactions one heard on the street and in the media. Just four years earlier, Sadat had surprised Israel by launching what’s now known as the Yom Kippur War, in which 2,600 Israeli soldiers lost their lives.

“Israel’s most dangerous and bitter enemy had landed in Tel Aviv. Even though I witnessed it firsthand, I still couldn’t believe it,” said Shalom Kital, who reported on the event for Voice of Israel radio. Kital was just one of several Israeli politicians, journalists and military officers recalling that day as part of a television special marking the 40th anniversary of Sadat’s landing and his speech before the Knesset in Jerusalem. Is such a thing possible again? Can we somehow repeat this success?

The Knesset also held a special session marking the occasion. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the stable, if not always warm, peace between Israel and Egypt, and said...

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