Stamp of disapproval

Sadat’s family angered by sale of passport used for historic Israel trip

Document used during late Egyptian president’s 1977 visit, during which he addressed the Knesset, sold by a US-based auction house in February without family’s knowledge

The passport, listed as it appeared in Heritage Auctions official website on March 1, 2023 (Heritage Auctions)
The passport, listed as it appeared in Heritage Auctions official website on March 1, 2023 (Heritage Auctions)

The family of former Egyptian president Anwar Sadat has reportedly called on authorities to investigate the sale of his passport by a US-based auction house.

The Egyptian state-owned Al-Ahram paper quoted Sadat’s grandson Karim Sadat, who is currently serving as an MP, who called the sale “an insult that we, as a family and as representatives of the Egyptian people who loved the late president, will not accept.”

“It is our right to know how our heritage and the personal belongings of Egypt’s presidents have made their way there and are being sold. Why isn’t the state the one benefiting from the belongings of people who gave their lives for Egypt,”  Sadat told “Salet El Tahrir,” a pro-government talk show, on Saturday night, according to a report in the Abu-Dhabi based The National.

The lawmaker reportedly told the talk show host on Saturday that he expects the foreign ministry to investigate the incident.

CNN said that Heritage Auctions sold Sadat’s diplomatic passport in late February for $47,500.

According to the Texas-based auction house’s website, the passport has no visa stamps and the identity of the buyer was not disclosed. The auction house said the document was used during the leader’s historic visit to Israel on November 19, 1977.

A day later, Sadat became the first — and so far only — Arab leader to address the Knesset with a call for peace.

Egyptian president Anwar Sadat addresses the Knesset on November 20, 1977 (Ya’akov Sa’ar/GPO archive)

Sadat’s visit heralded Israeli-Egyptian talks at Camp David a year later, travelling on the same passport, and a full peace agreement in 1979, just six years after the painful Yom Kippur War.

In 2015, a limo belonging to Sadat, reportedly given to him as a gift by ex-US president Jimmy Carter in the 1970s, was put on sale online for some $108,000.

In a statement sent to the Times of Israel, Heritage Auctions said it takes issues concerning title and ownership of properties seriously. “Here, our consignor represented and warranted they had clear title to offer the passport at auction, and we have not been presented with evidence to the contrary. Nonetheless, we reached out to and remain in active contact with representatives of the Ambassador of Egypt to the United States, Motaz Zahran, and will continue such discussions until this matter is resolved.”

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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