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Tel Aviv, Israel Remarks of the President and Prime Minister Begin at the Departure Ceremony.

March 13, 1979

THE PRESIDENT. Mr. President, Mr. Prime Minister, and friends:

As we depart for Cairo, and then for my own country, I want to express on behalf of Rosalynn, my wife, myself, and all the American party, our gratitude on the Government and to the people of Israel for your hospitality and for your kindness.

I came here in the service of a cause which binds together, which unites Israel, Egypt, and the United States of America-the sacred cause of peace. We have talked and reasoned together in that cause for many hours during the past 3 days. We've talked as friends, and our conversations have been characterized by the frankness, the honesty, the mutual respect and concern that true friendship demands.

In our discussions we've concentrated on the differences that still exist between Egypt and Israel in the peace process, differences that are now very small, compared to the much larger areas of agreement.

Good progress has been made. There are fewer differences than when I first arrived, and those few differences which still remain have been substantially narrowed.

Last night, there were further intensive discussions among members of the Israeli Cabinet and the United States delegation on the two or three most difficult issues. And this morning, building on those discussions, Prime Minister Begin and I were able to make substantial additional progress.

I will now fly to Cairo to review with President Sadat the discussions that we have had here and the progress which we have made together.

As I depart, I want to repeat once again what I said in the Knesset yesterday. The friendship between America and Israel is more than strong. It is indestructible.

In the past 3 days I have been impressed deeply by the extraordinary story of faith and perseverance in the face of adversity which is Israel.

President Sadat, Prime Minister Begin, and I remain determined to exert every ounce of effort at our command to bring the peace negotiations to a successful conclusion. We will not fail.

Thank you very much.

[At this point, Prime Minister Begin responded to the President's remarks in Hebrew. He then translated his remarks into English as follows.]

THE PRIME MINISTER. Mr. President of the United States, Mr. President of the State of Israel, ladies and gentlemen:

We take leave of you, Mr. President, on behalf of the Government and the people of Israel. On behalf of them, I wish to express our gratitude, my wife and myself, and all my colleagues in the Cabinet, that you honored us with your visit, you and your gracious lady, the Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense and your other advisers.

Undoubtedly, those 3 days of your visit to Israel were 3 hectic days, and there were also 3 white nights, but they are memorable days. I believe they will be unforgettable.

Mr. President, you came on the highest mission in humanity—for peace—and you have succeeded. We made real progress in the peacemaking process. Now, of course, it's the turn of Egypt to give its reply.

Nobody can deny that we worked as expeditiously as humanly possible and, therefore, we worked day and night. And we are not tired, because of the elation in our hearts that we did a good job in the service of peace.

Mr. President, may I say respectfully that you can leave this country with satisfaction, and we are happy that we could have helped you to the best of our ability. And when you embark on your journey and mission to Egypt, we wish you Godspeed.

And when you come back home, may I again ask you, tell the great American people that here is a free nation which loves and respects your great country, your people, and is grateful for their friendship and cherishes your personal friendship for Israel, which is a treasure in our time.

So, Mr. President, now we shall wish you all the success in Egypt, and we shall guard our friendship between America and Israel forever.

THE PRESIDENT. Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 12:15 p.m. at Ben Gurion International Airport.

In the morning, Prime Minister and Mrs. Begin had breakfast with the President and Mrs. Carter in the Presidential Suite at the King David Hotel. Following breakfast, the President and the Prime Minister met privately and were then joined by their advisers.

Jimmy Carter, Tel Aviv, Israel Remarks of the President and Prime Minister Begin at the Departure Ceremony. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/249005

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