As he sat up bed, Defense Minister Ezer Weizman gasped. He bit his lip, fighting back the pain that raced like and electric current though his broken ribs and his shattered left leg. Not today, he thought stubbornly, cursing last month's auto accident that had left him seriously injured. But with a warrior's determination, Weizman rose slowly and dressed himself.
When his car arrived, the ex-fighter pilot slipped silently into the back seat--as usual. Today, however, was different: Weizman glanced at his watch three times while his aides took their seats. "Timing will be crucial," he whispered. His bodyguard nodded to the driver, and the dark sedan sped away.
Precisely as planned, the car veered off the highway and screeched to a halt in a nondescript orange grove. There, a secret service van with blacked out windows was waiting. The minister jumped clumsily out of his car and hobbled into the van. Only the trees witnessed the rendezvous. The decoy departed first, kicking up gravel as it streaked to Weizman's office in Tel Aviv. Moments later, the undercover van pulled out noiselessly, its destination-Ben Gurion Airport, where Weizman would board a DC-9 and fly to Egypt for a top-secret meeting with President Anwar Sadat.
Sadat and Weizman, once bitter enemies, had become friends during Sadat's stunning trip to Israel a month earlier. Now, Weizman hoped to translate their personal friendship into a comprehensive peace treaty.
The friendship diplomacy succeeded, and Israel and Egypt signed historic peace accords on September 17, 1978. Weizman later served as Israel's first native-born president from 1993-2000.