An important issue that was expected to be discussed during the visit to Israel of Egypt's President Anwar Sadat was the imminent withdrawal of Israel from the Sinai.
An important issue that was expected to be discussed during the visit to Israel of Egypt's President Anwar Sadat was the imminent withdrawal of Israel from the Sinai. The rich oil fields there supply a quarter of Israel's energy needs and lengthy negotiations at ministerial level have reportedly failed to secure an agreement. But Israel has agreed to accelerate its withdrawal from the Sinai's central area of Santa Katerina. Final preparations for the President's visit were planned at a meeting of top military personnel in Bersheba in the Negev, and during the meeting a sacred scroll was returned to Israel.
SYNOPSIS: The now regular meetings of the Joint Military Committee have been grappling with the detailed implementation of the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel. This meeting was partly concerned with the Israeli handover to Egypt of parts of the Sinai.
Egypt's delegation was led by Brigadier Safey Eddin Abu Shnab, and Israel's by Major General Dov Sion. The Israelis are committed to totally withdrawing from the Sinai by mid-1982, and it has ben reported that Israel in the gesture of good will has agreed to accelerate its pull-out from the central Sinai area.
Brigadier Abu Shnab also made a good-will gesture. Reinforcing the increasingly friendly atmosphere between the two countries, he presented a gift which has great religious significance. The Torah scroll is said to be the word of God as revealed in the first five books of the Old Testament.
The scroll, one of the most sacred relics known to Judaism, was taken by Egyptian forces during the October War in 1973. The scroll is traditionally ascribed to Moses. It was received with reverence by an Israeli Army rabbi and will be taken for further study by religious authorities.