Obituary: Chaim Raphael

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The Independent Online
Chaim Rabinovitch (Raphael), civil servant, scholar of Jewish studies, writer: born Middlesbrough 14 July 1908; Adviser, British Information Services, New York 1942-45, Director (Economics) 1945-57; OBE 1951, CBE 1965; Deputy Head, Information Division, HM Treasury 1957-59, Head 1959-68; Head, Information Division, Civil Service Department 1968-69; Research Fellow, Sussex University 1969-75; married 1934 Diana Rose (one son, one daughter; marriage dissolved 1964); died London 10 October 1994.

'RAB' RAPHAEL was head of the Information Division at the Treasury from 1959 to 1968 but was most unlike the archetype of a career civil servant, writes Peter Jay.

He was an india-rubber ball of energy, good humour and proactivity, always poking his head round people's doors: friendly, alert, keeping in touch, and sensitive to people and their moods and styles. He had more visibly human qualities than were customarily shown at the Treasury.

Journalists thought of Information Division Treasury (IDT) as a press office; but that was only one of the many functions it performed. It also published newsletters, handled public appearances, and broadcasting. Raphael as the Head of Information attended all the important meetings and was essentially the Chancellor of the Exchequer's spokesperson, in a time before the idea of public 'image' was current.

Raphael was immensely genial, likeable and liked. Indeed, he loved the Treasury and wanted very much for it to be successful. But I came to realise afterwards that he was a man of considerably more parts as a scholar and novelist than life at the Treasury allowed one to perceive.

(Photograph omitted)