I have very recently returned from another Middle East visit. It was very profitable for the Work that God is doing through us.
En route I stopped off in London, and spoke on the Sabbath, October 25th, to the brethren in the London area. There were more than 1,000 present, including a number who came over from the Continent.
On Monday evening, the 27th, I addressed a large banquet in Cairo, Egypt, of people prominent in the Egyptian government and universities, and the Egyptian-American League, hosted by Dr. Mohammed Abdel Kader Hatem, chief personal adviser to President Anwar el-Sadat and former prime minister. Then on to Jerusalem.
Our brief flight to Jerusalem was a "FIRST"! We were given government permission to fly direct from Cairo to Jerusalem airport. Since the hostilities between Egypt and Israel, there were no flights permitted between the nations until the Camp David peace talks, and then flights were permitted only from Cairo to the Ben-Gurion airport at Tel Aviv. But our plane was given government permission to make the first flight direct to Jerusalem airport.
In Jerusalem with Mr. Rader we renewed many close friendships with Israeli leaders. I spoke at a banquet hosted by Mayor Teddy Kollek. We attended a Sunday afternoon entertainment by the Arab section of the ICCY (International Cultural Center for Youth) in the "old city" Arab section of the city. It was a performance by both Arab and Israeli youth, with a very hilarious "belly dance" by a little 9-year-old Arab girl. This youth center is succeeding well in bringing together the youths, of both Arab and Jewish children and young people, in harmonious peace instead of hostility. We've been participating in this foundation for 12 years. A whole square in front of the main headquarters building in the newer area of Jerusalem is named "The Herbert W. Armstrong Square."
Also we visited again the new downtown city park in Jerusalem, where my name is engraved in a stone marker at one of the park entrances, at the children's playground area.
On Monday, November 3 (the day before the U.S. presidential election), I had another very splendid meeting with Prime Minister Menachem Begin. I was of course accompanied by Mr. Rader and also present was Mayor Teddy Kollek. The prime minister had interrupted a government meeting in Tel Aviv, to come with a one-hour automobile drive to Jerusalem for our meeting. The Tel Aviv meeting recessed for 2-1/2 hours until Mr. Begin could return. When I apologized for this interruption and his two-hour round trip drive for our meeting, he said, "Mr. Armstrong, I would get up at 2 o'clock in the morning, if necessary, to see you."
I told the prime minister we were planning to publish a cover story about him and President Sadat of Egypt in The PLAIN TRUTH, and he smilingly approved. The meeting ended in a bear hug.
Our meeting with President Sadat in Cairo had to be postponed, because President Yitzhak Navon of Israel was in Cairo on a state visit while we were there, and we were planning a full televised private meeting with him. Our own TV crew had been flown over there, and the meeting with Mr. Begin was photographed and will be shown later on television. vSo in the interim we flew over to Paris and on Wednesday that week Mr. Rader and I had luncheon once again at the chateau at Waterloo near Brussels, with ex-King Leopold III and his wife.
We returned Sunday, the 9th, to Cairo. On Tuesday the llth—the 62nd anniversary of the end of World War I (and how well I remember the wild and jubilant reveling of that day) we had our televised meeting with the Egyptian president, Anwar el-Sadat.
Mr. Sadat was speaking at 11 to 12:30 that morning at a teachers' union graduation in a downtown auditorium. We were driven during that time to the auditorium building and taken to a reception room on about the 20th floor of the building. From there we could watch the ending of President Sadat's speech to the nation on television, and the graduation ceremony taking place in the auditorium on the ground floor of the building.
Finally we (Mr. Rader and myself) were let back down to a parking lot in front of the building and into a private car, parked directly behind a Cadillac ambulance. This ambulance follows President Sadat's car wherever he is driven in Cairo, since threats have been made of assassination. We were driven, with Dr. Hatem joining us in our car, in the president's motorcade rapidly through the streets to the Giza Residential Palace. We made the trip, in some three or four minutes, that would have ordinarily taken 20 minutes or more in the congested traffic. The sidewalks were lined with people waving at the president as he rode by.
At the palace, the president entered first, and we were met at the entrance portico by the first lady, who took my arm and walked in with me, followed by Mr. Rader and Dr. Hatem.
Inside, awaiting a brief meeting with Mr. Sadat, was a group of U.S. congressmen. I was told that they stared in amazed disapproval, wondering, "Who are those nonofficial Americans, and what are they doing here?"
The president's wife accompanied us into an elegant reception room where we chatted for some 15 or 20 minutes. She and I were photographed together.
Then, the American congressmen dismissed, the president entered. The TV lights were flashed on.
It's a coincidence that the last time I met President Sadat, in Alexandria, he also was then about to address the nation on television. It was at a university in Alexandria. At that time, Mr. Rader and I were waiting in a reception room off the entrance lobby when the president entered. He had then come in a motorcade with streets lined with people trying to get a glimpse of their president. At that time, Mr. Sadat entered with his wife, followed by his cabinet and other top government officials. The president waited at the rear of the room, while his cabinet and officials lined up on each side facing the middle. Down the middle was a long red carpet. I walked down the red carpet to be formally introduced by Dr. Hatem to the president and the first lady, Mr. Rader with or following me. That had been my first meeting with President Sadat, although we were already well acquainted with his close adviser Dr. Hatem.
But in this present meeting, Mr. Sadat and I sat together in the corner of the room where seats had been arranged for telecasting. Both our own TV cameramen and the government TV cameramen were shooting us, until the meeting was under way, and then they left, and we were able to continue without the blazing TV lights.
Mr. Sadat showed me the architect's rendering of his proposed World Peace Center, a $70 million project to be built at the foot of Mt. Sinai, as a symbol of peace between nations and religions. It is a project involving quite a story—too much to include in this letter. He invited our participation.
I have written a complete article giving the details of this for QUEST/81 magazine, which will appear about March 20th. I am planning to write articles for QUEST/81 frequently from now on, and it occurs to me that some of our members and co-workers might like to subscribe to QUEST and read these articles, as well as the many articles it contains. That magazine has improved since its founding, and is generally recognized as the leading or one of the leading quality secular magazines in the U.S. A subscription could be made through our office.
Also I will write an altogether different article about the meeting with President Sadat and the peace center at Mt. Sinai, in The PLAIN TRUTH.
There are other things I wanted to say, but this letter is getting overlong, and I will reserve other things until next time or in The PLAIN TRUTH.
We have won a victory—a very significant battle in a long WAR in which Satan the devil is fighting this Work of God. The attorney general of California has dropped his unconstitutional lawsuit and trumped-up charges against us. But Satan is not yet chained and removed. He still sits angrily and vengefully on the throne of the earth where God placed him when he was the super-archangel Lucifer. He was "perfect in all his ways from the day he was created" (Ezek. 28:15) UNTIL he turned to REBELLION and became Satan the devil. But he is still the "prince of the power of the air," and he still invisibly RULES THIS WORLD, unrealized by those he has deceived! He will continue to find other ways to attack this WORK OF THE LIVING GOD! He has attacked me personally, through false accusers and persecutors, ever since God started using me some half century ago. He attacked the Church as a whole in the attorney general's lawsuit. He will find other ways to falsify and discredit this Work, BECAUSE it is the Work of the living GOD—and BECAUSE Satan knows his time is now short!
I often think, if I were an entertainer, or a star in "show business," I would not be persecuted. Companies and corporations in "show business" or even financial or industrial business are seldom persecuted or falsely attacked by enemies seeking to destroy them.
Jesus said, "IF ye were of this world, the world would love its own," but, "if they have persecuted me, they will persecute you!"
We must not think the WAR (Satan's war against us) is over, just because we have won a significant battle. KEEP PRAYING for the Work and keep praying for me, as I pray daily for YOU! Remember to keep your part in God's Work going generously and regularly.