Publications - Articles

How Israel Weighed Its Syria Policy, Before and After the Uprising

New Lines Magazine, March 22, 2021

The Syrian rebellion of 2011 broke out when Israel and Syria were engaged in indirect negotiations mediated by the United States. This was the last effort to settle the Israeli-Syrian conflict during a period of 20 years that began with President George H.W. Bush’s administration when it convened the Madrid Conference in October 1991 in the aftermath of the Gulf War. Several serious efforts at negotiations were interrupted by periods of active hostility. In 2010 and 2011, two U.S. mediators, ambassadors Dennis Ross and Frederic Hof, tried to work out a settlement based not on the traditional formula of “territories for peace” but with a formula of “territory for strategic realignment.”

Blinken’s nod to Syria



Published in: The Times of Israel, February 11, 2021

The secretary of state acknowledged Israel must hold the Golan Heights but left the final legal status open. He also signaled a cooldown in US-Israel ties.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s statement Monday regarding Israel’s position in the Golan Heights has resonated in two contexts: as yet another indication of the change taking place in the US-Israeli relationship, and as a substantive statement on the issue at hand.

No, Netanyahu Is Not Yitzhak Rabin's Successor


Haaretz, November 2, 2020

In his article on October 30 (“Rabin’s legacy lives on through Netanyahu”), Haaretz editor Aluf Benn describes Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as the successor of Yitzhak Rabin. “The agreements Netanyahu has signed with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain recall the Rabin legacy,” he writes. “It took another 25 years for Israel to get back on the path that had been blocked by three bullets from Yigal Amir’s gun.”

The United States and Israel vs. the Syria of Bashar al-Assad: Challenges, Dilemmas, and Options


Policy Analysis, Volume 23, No .4 (October 2020), INSS – The Institute for National Security Studies

The crisis that began in March 2011 with the outbreak of the revolt against Bashar al-Assad’s regime is now in its tenth year. The intensity and complexity of the crisis derive to a great extent from the fact that almost from the start it has been conducted at three levels: domestic, regional, and international. The United States and Israel are among the countries involved in the crisis; they are influenced by it and affect how it unfolds. At the same time, although Israel has profound interests in Syria and considerable military strength, and the United States is still a superpower with important interests in the Middle East, so far neither has played the key role in Syria of which it is capable.

The Meager Prospects Of Progress On The Palestinian Issue


The Caravan, issue 1923 (Thursday, September 19, 2019), Hoover Institution

Three weeks before the Israeli parliamentary elections of September 17 the prospects of progress, or of ending the current stalemate in Israeli Palestinian relations, are dim.

How Iran’s regional ambitions have developed since 1979


Brookings, January 24, 2019

Like other major revolutions—such as the French and the Russian—the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran did not remain a domestic affair. Its authors and Iran’s new ruling elite were determined to export their revolution, but the impact of that determination was not readily apparent. The regime needed time to consolidate, to go through internecine conflicts, and to see through the protracted Iran-Iraq war that Iraq started.

But as early as 1982, the effort to mobilize and recruit Shiite communities in the Middle East was manifested in Lebanon. That effort, furthermore, was conducted in partnership with the Islamic Republic’s first regional ally, Hafez Assad’s Syria, a country dominated by members of a Shiite sect. By the early 2000s, Iran’s quest for regional hegemony and the resources it brought to bear in the service of that end came to rattle the Middle East. In recent years, these ambitions have been particularly evident in the Syrian civil war.

Religion and politics in Israel

The Caravan (Hoover Institution, issue 1820), Thursday, December 6, 2018

A complex relationship between religion and politics is inherent in Israel’s character as a Jewish state. The term Jewish denotes both a religion and an ethnicity, and, for the past seventy years, Israel’s leaders have had to deal with a host of issues regarding religion’s role in the life and politics of the Jewish state .

Israel and the Arab World

The Oxford Handbook of Israeli Politics and Society

Edited by Reuven Y. Hazan, Alan Dowty, Menachem Hofnung, and Gideon Rahat

Subject: Political Science, Regional Studies, International Relations Online Publication Date: Nov 2018 DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780190675585.013.28


This chapter traces and analyzes the course of the Arab-Israeli conflict from its early days to the present. What began as a Jewish-Arab conflict in and over Palestine developed in 1948 into a larger conflict between Israel and the Arab world. The conflict festered in the 1950s and culminated in the war of June 1967. That war had two major contradictory results. First, it provided Israel with bargaining chips for negotiating peace with Arab countries that lost territory in the Six-Day War. Most significantly, this led to the signing of the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty in 1979. But second, it also encumbered Israel with the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and the lingering control of a large Palestinian population. To a great extent the larger Arab-Israeli conflict was telescoped into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in its present form. In recent years two other contradictory developments have been shaping the Israeli-Arab landscape. The return of Iran and Turkey into the Middle Eastern arena has added an important Islamic dimension to the conflict. But Iran’s quest for regional hegemony and the exacerbation of Sunni-Shiite tensions in the Middle East have had a moderating effect on the attitude of the Sunni Arab states toward Israel.

The Rabin Assassination as a Turning Point in Israel’s History

Israel Studies, vol. 23, no. 3 (Fall 2018), pp. 25-29.


The assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin on November 4, 1995, clearly was a major turning point in Israel’s history. During the previous decades, the Jewish community in Palestine and the State of Israel had witnessed several significant cases of domestic political violence but the assassination of an incumbent Prime Minister by a fellow Jew was the most severe case of such violence. Yet, the event’s significance lies well beyond this fact. It’s impact on Israel’s history lies in two different but interrelated domains.

The struggle for Syria, Chapter Two

The Brookings Institution, February 20, 2018

In 1965, the British writer Patrick Seale published his classic “The Struggle for Syria: 1945-1958.” His history of the Syrian Republic’s first 13 years depicted a fragile, weak state, torn by domestic conflicts and buffeted by more powerful regional and international actors. Seale argued that Syria was the prize that these external actors were seeking in order to establish hegemony in the core area of the Middle East. Today, Syria is facing a very similar situation, seven years after what began as a peaceful uprising transformed into a vicious civil war with a fierce competition between regional and international actors over Syria’s future. And as the internal dimension seems to be abating after the capture of Aleppo in late 2016, the regional and international conflicts have been exacerbated.