Israel & Egypt: a Lasting Peace?

This video explores the unlikely friendship of two Middle East leaders: Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat. Labeled extremists earlier in their careers, what led Begin and Sadat to fight so strongly for peace?

Through this video and educator’s guide, students will learn about the two men – their backgrounds, politics, and quests for peace. Students will consider the price of peace, as well as the idea of putting the painful past behind to do what’s best for one’s country. What allowed these two characters to strive for peace in a way their predecessors had not?

  1. How many wars were fought against Israel before 1979?
  2. What are some things Sadat and Begin had in common?
  3. In his early years, who did Sadat admire?
    • Moses
    • Hitler
    • Begin
    • Ben Gurion
  4. Which famous hotel did Begin bomb?
    • Hilton
    • Sheraton
    • King David
    • King Solomon
  5. When Begin heard Sadat’s desire to make peace, what was Begin’s reaction?
    • Reluctance
    • Dismissal
    • Excitement
    • Disappointment
  1. Both Begin and Sadat were considered terrorists by many of their adversaries, yet they were the ones who led the pursuit of peace. When do you think it’s possible to shed one’s image and change how people perceive the individual?
  2. If Egypt and Israel–sworn enemies–can make peace, do you think Israel and the Palestinians can make peace? Compare and contrast the differences between the two situations.
  3. After viewing the episode and thinking about the history, who do you think made the biggest sacrifice in the Egyptian- Israeli peace treaty, and who do you admire the most?
  1. Give your students 5 minutes to “free write” their response to the following statement: “Painful sacrifice is sometimes necessary for change.” In their response they should reference Israeli-Egyption peace, but they can also give other examples.
  2. Many say that Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat looked at each other as people rather than political abstractions. What can we learn from Begin and Sadat when it comes to humanizing the enemy? Ask your students to discuss this question in small groups of 2-3 and then share their reflections with the class.
  3. Engage your students in an experiential learning activity around the theme of Shalom Bayit, a theme found in the accompanying video.
  4. Give your students our Kahoot on Israeli-Egyptian peace!
  1. Nike ran a controversial ad, saying, “Believe in something even if it means sacrificing everything.” When thinking about sacrifice, does the concept sound real or foreign to you? What is a value or idea you believe in to the extent you would give up everything?  
  2. In thinking about the region in which Israel is situated, it is quite hostile in many ways, and the opportunity to live in peace cannot be overstated. What would YOU compromise from Israel’s perspective to achieve long-lasting peace in the region, and do you think it is possible or do you prefer status quo?
  1. Primary Sources: Center for Israel Education
  2. Daniel Gordis, Israel: A Concise History
  3. Yehuda Avner, The Prime Ministers
  4. Sari Nusseibeh, Once Upon a Country
  5. The Real Sadat and the Demythologized Nasser  
  6. Video: March 26, 1979: Begin, Sadat sign the Egypt-Israel peace treaty at the White House

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Experiential Learning is a proactive way to educate with a focus on reflection and can take place in any academic setting: day school, supplementary school, camp, youth group, synagogue, college campus or university. 

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