Mubarak Thanks Rabbi Ovadia Yosef for 'Get Well' Letter

Egyptian leader assures former Cairo rabbi that rumors of ill health have been greatly exaggerated.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak sent Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef a personal letter, denying that his health is deteriorating.

"I want to reassure you, I have recovered completely and I would like to emphasize that I am in good condition, despite some reports in the Israeli and other media," he stated.

The letter was written in response to a letter Yosef wrote two weeks ago to wish the Egyptian leader good health, in light of the media reports. It was given to Mubarak by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when the leaders met in Cairo.

Mubarak's response was written a week ago and publicized Monday.

In it, he thanked Yosef for his good wishes, and ends with a statement anticipating "your cooperation to advance the peace process, along with other supporters of peace."

Yosef has met the Egyptian president in person and talked with him by phone on numerous occasions.

Yosef himself filled various positions in the Cairo rabbinate and religious courts between 1947 and 1950. In his letter, Yosef addressed him as "Your highness, President of Egypt Muhammad Hosni Mubarak, may his glory be exalted," saying, "May you continue to lead your countrymen in majesty, courage and strength, for a lifetime and in peace; may you succeed in all your doings."

In his response, Mubarak addressed the rabbi as "dear friend and greatest of teachers."

On Tuesday it was reported that President Shimon Peres would be meeting with Mubarak in Cairo at the beginning of next week. The two are expected to discuss diplomatic matters, including Mubarak's request that Israel make further gestures to the Palestinians and lengthen the current moratorium on building in the settlements.