Begin Discovers Egypt

As peace talks between Israel and Egypt began, former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin had the chance to tour the historical treasures of what had long been an enemy state.

Nati Gabbay | 26.03.19 |
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מנחם בגין
Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin against the background of the Great Pyramid of Giza, April 1979. Photo: Moshe Milner, GPO

Throughout the peace talks between Israel and Egypt, as well as in the years following the signing of the peace treaty between the two countries, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin made several trips to neighboring Egypt.

Despite a busy schedule, the Prime Minister and his entourage couldn’t resist the opportunity to visit the Aswan Dam and other historic locations in between meetings with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. They toured some of the most well-known sites associated with ancient Egypt, including the Temples of Abu Simbel and the tombs of the pharaohs in the Valley of the Kings.

Begin’s entourage included photographers from the Israeli press corps. They too were thrilled by the visit to the Valley of the Kings. “It is impossible to describe the excitement that gripped everyone on the plane when the pyramids suddenly came into view,” recalls photographer Dan Hadani, whose collection of press photographs is currently archived at the National Library. “To think that the People of Israel were once slaves in Egypt, and then to actually see the places that our forefathers may have built…”

To this day, an official, framed certificate hangs in Dan Hadani’s home, commemorating his taking part in the first El Al flight to Egypt. “They treated us like kings,” says Dan Hadani. “It was like a dream.”

Here are some of the extraordinary pictures in which we see the former Prime Minister experiencing Egypt as a tourist, and not as an adversary.

. Photo shows: 1977/12/26 Copyright © IPPA 80260-001-76 Photo by [010] Hadani Dan
The Temples of Abu Simbel, the Dan Hadani (IPPA) Collection, the National Library of Israel
PM Menahem Begin in Egypt to discuss the Peace Process between Egypt and Israel. Photo shows: Visiting Abu Simbel 1980/01/06 Copyright © IPPA 11597-005-06 Photo by [010] Hadani Dan
The Temples of Abu Simbel, the Dan Hadani (IPPA) Collection, the National Library of Israel
The 5th visit of PM Menahem Begin in Egypt to discuss the Peace Process between Egypt and Israel. Photo shows: On way to visit the Assuan Hidroelectric Power Station 1977/12/26 Copyright © IPPA 80260-001-85 Photo by [010] Hadani Dan
The Aswan Dam, the Dan Hadani (IPPA) Collection, the National Library of Israel
PM Menahem Begin in Egypt to discuss the Peace Process between Egypt and Israel. Photo shows: Visiting Abu Simbel 1980/01/06 Copyright © IPPA 11597-012-07 Photo by [010] Hadani Dan
The Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut, the Dan Hadani (IPPA) Collection, the National Library of Israel
PM Menahem Begin in Egypt to discuss the Peace Process between Egypt and Israel. Photo shows: Visiting Abu Simbel 1980/01/06 Copyright © IPPA 11597-005-07 Photo by [010] Hadani Dan
The Temples of Abu Simbel, the Dan Hadani (IPPA) Collection, the National Library of Israel
PM Menahem Begin in Egypt to discuss the Peace Process between Egypt and Israel. Photo shows: Finding in the tomb of Abu Simbel 1980/01/06 Copyright © IPPA 11597-013-37 Photo by [010] Hadani Dan
The Dan Hadani (IPPA) Collection, the National Library of Israel
. Photo shows: 1977/12/26 Copyright © IPPA 80260-001-66 Photo by [010] Hadani Dan
The Dan Hadani (IPPA) Collection, the National Library of Israel
Visit to Egypt for the Peace talks. Photo shows: Flying home to Isrel over the famous Pyramids 1977/12/27 Copyright © IPPA 80260-001-26 Photo by [010] Hadani Dan
Taken during the flight back to Israel, the Dan Hadani (IPPA) Collection, the National Library of Israel
Visit to Egypt for the Peace talks. Photo shows: Flying home to Israel over the famous Pyramids 1977/12/27 Copyright © IPPA 80260-001-28 Photo by [010] Hadani Dan
Taken during the flight back to Israel, the Dan Hadani (IPPA) Collection, the National Library of Israel

And finally, here are several photos captured by Government Press Office photographer Moshe Milner during a visit to Egypt a few days after the signing of the peace treaty.

 

הפירמידה בגיזה
The Great Pyramid of Giza, photo: Moshe Milner, GPO

 

גיזה
Giza, photo: Moshe Milner, GPO

 

מוזיאון לעתיקות בקהיר
The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, Cairo, photo: Moshe Milner, GPO

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Right Before Their Fatal Mission, Jewish WWII Soldiers Took These Incredible Pictures of Egypt

Begin and Sadat Unscripted: Photos Reveal the Personal Connection Between the Two Leaders

A Glimpse into the Diary of Sayad, an Egyptian Soldier in the Yom Kippur War

 




Nati Gabbay

Nati Gabbay, born in 1981 married, father to sweet Lia and MIka, and to Sansa, Bougie and Nella the cats

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