Arnold Lewis Raphel

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Arnold Lewis Raphel
Arnold Lewis Raphel And Ronald Reagan.jpg
Raphel (right) pictured with U.S. President Ronald Reagan in 1987.
18th U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan
In office
January 1987 – 17 August 1988
PresidentRonald Reagan
Preceded byDeane R. Hinton
Succeeded byRobert B. Oakley
Personal details
Arnold Lewis Raphel

(1943-03-16)March 16, 1943
Troy, New York, US
DiedAugust 17, 1988(1988-08-17) (aged 45)
Bahawalpur, Pakistan
Cause of deathAirplane crash
Spouse(s)Myrna Feigenbaum (first wife)
Robin Raphel (second wife)
Nancy Halliday Ely-Raphel (1987-1988; third wife)
Children1 (with Myrna Feigenbaum)
Alma materHamilton College (New York)

Arnold Lewis Raphel (March 16, 1943 – August 17, 1988) was the 18th United States Ambassador to Pakistan.

Early life and education[edit]

Raphel was born 16 March 1943 in Troy, New York, into a Jewish family, the son of Harry and Sarah (Rote-Rosen) Raphel.[1] He had at least one brother, Murray.

As a boy, Raphel was already interested in diplomacy and international affairs. At age 12, he wrote to the then Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, regarding his interest in diplomacy. Dulles wrote back in reply, advising him to "study hard, work hard and we’ll see you in ten years."[2] That is what happened: Raphel graduated from Hamilton College (B.A., 1964) and the Maxwell School at Syracuse University (M.A., 1966).[3]


Raphel joined the US State Department in 1966. He held a variety of positions throughout his career until his death in 1988. He was mainly a diplomat for the US Government.[4]

Iran hostage crisis[edit]

In 1979, Raphel was a key member of the State Department's Special Operations Group set up to free the American hostages seized by Iranian militants at the United States Embassy in Tehran.[3][4]

Office of United States Secretary of State[edit]

In 1981, Raphel served as the Special Assistant to Secretary of State Edmund Muskie.[5] Afterward, he became the Deputy Assistant to the United States Secretary of State in 1985.[6][7]

Ambassador to Pakistan[edit]

Raphel was nominated by President Ronald Reagan and succeeded Dean Roesch Hinton as US Ambassador to Pakistan in January 1987.[3]


Personal life[edit]

Raphel was married three times. His first wife was Myrna Feigenbaum, by whom he had one daughter, Stephanie.[1] In 1978, he married fellow diplomat Robin Raphel; the marriage, which was childless, ended in divorce two years later. In 1987, he married another fellow diplomat, Nancy Halliday Ely-Raphel; he was her third husband and both of her previous marriages had ended in divorce.[1] They had been married for around a year when he died in an aircrash in August 1988.


Raphel was serving as US ambassador to Pakistan, and was traveling in the plane with President Zia-ul-Haq on August 17, 1988, when the plane crashed, resulting in the death of 34 people, including him and President Zia.[8]

Raphel was 45 years old. He was survived by both his parents, who were living in retirement by then in Atlantic City, N.J., and by his only daughter Stephanie, who was living with her mother, Myrna Feigenbaum, in Orlando, Florida. Raphel was also survived by his third wife, Nancy.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c
  2. ^ Obituary and memories
  3. ^ a b c Binder, David (August 18, 1988). "Arnold L. Raphel: An Envoy of Deep Commitment". The New York Times.
  4. ^ a b
  5. ^,2705241&dq=united+states+deputy+secretary+of+state+arnold+raphel&hl=en
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^

External links[edit]