November 6, 1995
Web posted at: 7:55 p.m. EST (0055 GMT)
From Cairo Bureau Chief Gayle Young
CAIRO, Egypt (CNN) -- For many Egyptians, the funeral of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin Monday was all too familiar.
In 1981, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat was assassinated. Like Rabin, he was killed at a public function by religious extremists opposed to his Nobel Prize-winning efforts to promote peace in the Middle East.
Normally rather cool toward Israel, Egyptians expressed empathy for their Jewish neighbors Monday.
"This is like the day Sadat died," said an Egyptian man. "Rabin was a man of peace, and we feel very sad."
"It is a fate that we didn't want for Sadat and we didn't want for Rabin," said an Egyptian woman.
On this day of precedent-setting events in the Middle East, President Hosni Mubarak made his first trip to Jerusalem. He had kept his distance during Rabin's lifetime.
Mubarak was also the target of religious fanaticism, narrowly escaping an assassination attempt earlier this year
The message he delivered Monday was clear: religious
extremism, be it Jewish or Islamic, is the common foe of
"These religious people should realize very well that religion does not agree on using violence, killing or assassination to solve problems"
-- Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak   (160K AIFF sound or 160K WAV sound)
Although Mubarak stressed his presence was a condolence call and not an official visit, he impressed Israelis with his warmth, planting a traditional Arab kiss on both cheeks of Israel's president, Ezer Weizman.
Danny Shek, spokesman for Israel's Foreign Ministry, said the presence of Mubarak and the other Arab envoys at the funeral made a "very strong and very unequivocal statement in favor of the peace process."
Several years ago, Rabin visited Sadat's tomb. Now both men have become symbols, some would say martyrs to the same cause. In this ancient land it is perhaps no surprise that history tends to repeat itself.
Undeniably, there were many differences between Sadat and
Rabin but the fact that both men died at the hands of
religious extremists while pursuing peace seems to have
created a common, and tragic, bond between their two
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