WASHINGTON, DC (JTA) — US President Donald Trump has signed legislation that will honor former Egyptian leader Anwar Sadat posthumously with the Congressional Gold Medal for leading Egypt to peace with Israel.
The medal, the highest civilian honor bestowed by Congress, would be conferred next year, the 40th anniversary of the 1979 peace treaty. This year is the centenary of the late Egyptian president’s birth. Trump signed the legislation on December 13.
A Congressional medal requires the sponsorship of two-thirds of lawmakers in both chambers, which was secured by Sen. Ben Cardin, a Maryland Democrat, and Sen. Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican, in the Senate and Reps. Grace Meng, a New York Democrat, and Chris Stewart, a Utah Republican, in the House.
The bid to confer the medal was promoted by The Friedlander Group, a New York-based publicity and lobbying firm with a focus on Jewish issues. Backing the bid outside Congress were Shafik Gabr, an Egyptian industrialist; Isaac Dabah, an Israeli clothing tycoon who operates plants in Egypt; and Tzili Charney, the widow of Leon Charney, a major pro-Israel philanthropist who was a longtime friend of Ezer Weizman, the Israeli defense minister at the time, and who advised some of the negotiators at Camp David.
Militant Islamists assassinated Sadat in 1981 because of the 1978 Camp David Accords he forged with Israel. Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin received the 1978 Nobel Peace Prize.