Mohammad Anwar Al-Sadat, Menachem Begin

Nobel Peace Prize 1978

Anwar el-Sadat


For a peace treaty with Israel

In October 1981, President Sadat of Egypt was murdered by persons who were opposed to his policy of reconciliation with Israel and his close links with the United States. Sadat shared the Peace Prize with Israel's Prime Minister Begin after having taken the initiative in negotiating a peace treaty between the two countries. The so-called Camp David Accords came about thanks to the mediation efforts of US President Jimmy Carter.

Anwar el-Sadat had military training. In World War II he fought against the British dominance of Egypt and was imprisoned for several years. After the war he joined the officers who under Nasser's leadership deposed the pro-English King Farouk in 1952.

Nasser died a few years after Egypt's defeat by Israel in 1967, and Sadat took over as President. He broke Egypt's links with the Soviet Union, and sought US support in recovering territories lost to Israel. In the autumn of 1977 Sadat undertook a bold journey to Jerusalem, where he offered Begin a peace treaty in return for recovery of the occupied Sinai peninsula.


Menachem Begin


From terror to a peace treaty with Egypt

When Israel's Prime Minister Begin came to Oslo to receive the Peace Prize, there were such violent demonstrations against him that the award ceremony had to be moved to Akershus fortress. Begin shared the Peace Prize with Egypt's President Anwar el-Sadat for the peace treaty concluded between Israel and Egypt. The so-called Camp David Accords were negotiated under pressure from US President Jimmy Carter.

Menachem Begin was born in Poland, where he joined an extremist Zionist movement that wanted to establish a Jewish state in Palestine by force. During the Second World War Begin was in custody in the Soviet Union before he, with incredible luck, managed to get to Jerusalem. There he became the leader of the Irgun Zwai Leumi organization which resorted to terror both against the British authorities and against Palestine's Arab inhabitants. Irgun also fought the Israeli army until Begin accepted David Ben Gurion's supreme leadership. In 1977 Begin became Prime Minister when the conservative Likud alliance won the election.