Although Peres built his reputation as an authority on defense matters, he has devoted much of his energy as prime minister to extricating his country from diplomatic isolation. . . . Under his leadership Israel has established or restored relations with a number of countries in Europe and Africa, and is seeking to renew the dialogue with Egypt that was broken off in 1982 when Israeli-backed Lebanese militiamen attacked Palestinian refugee camps. . . . Peres was born in 1923, in what was Poland at the time but is now part of the Soviet Union, and was taken to Palestine by his parents as a child. . . . While in high school he joined Haganah, the fighting Jewish underground, and after independence, in 1948, he was named to head the naval section of the Defense Ministry, later becoming minister of defense. . . . He became prime minister two years ago by agreeing to form a national unity government of his centrist Labor Alignment and the right-wing Likud Bloc. . . . Under the terms of that agreement he must relinquish the prime ministership next month to Likud's Yitzhak Shamir, now foreign minister.
Hosni Mubarak, President of Egypt
A career air force officer, Mubarak came reluctantly to politics. . . . He was in command of Egypt's air force in 1973, and so impressed President Anwar Sadat with his attack on Israeli forces in the so-called Yom Kippur War that in 1975 Sadat named him vice president. . . . In 1981, after Sadat's assassination, Mubarak succeeded to the presidency. . . . While continuing Sadat's search for a comprehensive peace in the Middle East, he has had to deal with widespread poverty and spreading Islamic extremism. . . . Born in 1928, the son of a minor public official in the Nile Delta area, he attended local public schools and graduated from the military academy and the air force academy. . . . He took advanced flight instruction in the Soviet Union, which at the time supplied most of Egypt's military aircraft, and spent a year at the General Staff Academy in Moscow. . . . Upon succeeding to the presidency, he told an interviewer: "I didn't ask to be president. I just accepted it because it is in the interest of the country."