WASHINGTON — Samuel Lewis, an influential US ambassador to Israel who helped broker the Camp David peace agreement, has died.
Lewis, a career diplomat, died Monday at the age of 83.
He was ambassador to Israel from 1977-1985, a period during which Israel and Egypt achieved a peace agreement brokered by President Carter.
Lewis, who was not Jewish, was so deeply involved in the day-to-day back and forth between Israel and the United States and was so curious about Israeli and Jewish culture that Ezer Weizman, who was then Israel’s defense minister and a lead negotiator, nicknamed him Shmuel Levi.
Lewis played a key role in calming recurring tensions between President Reagan and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, first in 1981 when Israeli planes destroyed a nuclear reactor in Iraq, and in 1982, when Israel invaded Lebanon.
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