Mubarak acquired instant fame and the respect of then president Anwar Sadat with his successful offensive against the Israeli forces on the first day of the October 1973 Arab-Israeli War. Pilots destroyed 90% of their targets within 20 minutes, thus minimizing Egyptian infantry casualties. After the United Nations (UN)-sponsored cease-fire in late October, Sadat dispatched Mubarak to every Arab country to explain the Egyptian government's determination to achieve a peaceful solution to the conflict.
Sadat named Mubarak vice president on 15 April 1975, and over the next few years entrusted him with several important diplomatic missions. Perhaps the most significant was Mubarak's involvement in negotiations with Israel. After Sadat's decision to accept the Camp David Peace Accords in 1978, which provided the foundation for an eventual settlement of the Arab-Israeli dispute, Egypt was practically ostracized from the Arab world. Despite the agreement, lingering conflicts between Israel and Egypt remained unresolved. Sadat sent Mubarak to Germany to solicit that government's help in settling the Arab-Israeli dispute. Later in the year, after Sadat had begun to doubt the possibility of ever resolving differences between his government and that of Israeli Prime Minister Menahem Begin, Mubarak took part in meetings with the leaders of several Israeli opposition parties. He eventually took over the daily chores of running the government, freeing Sadat to pursue foreign policy interests. Mubarak was elected in 1980 to the vice chairmanship of the NDP, which secured his position as Sadat's heir apparent.
On 6 October 1981, Sadat was assassinated by a band of militant Islamic fundamentalists. The following day, the NDP nominated Mubarak as its presidential candidate, and the Egyptian parliament approved his immediate succession to the office, subject to confirmation by the voters. This was accomplished on 13 October, when Mubarak was accepted by more than 98% of the electorate. Voters confirmed Mubarak's nomination for three subsequent six-year terms in 1987, 1993, and 1999.