Publications - Articles

Israel’s Last Founding Father

Project Syndicate, September 28, 2016

TEL AVIV – In 2006, a year before Shimon Peres was elected as Israel’s president, Michael Bar-Zohar published the Hebrew edition of his Peres biography. It was aptly titled Like a Phoenix: by then, Peres had been active in Israeli politics and public life for more than 60 years.

The Syrian Civil War Comes to the Druze

The American Interest, June 2015

After years of steering clear of the fight, Syria’s Druze are now in danger of being drawn into the war’s horrors .

After more than four years of successfully evading the brunt of the Syrian civil war, the country’s Druze community, which constitutes some 3 percent of the country’s population, is now in danger of being drawn into the war’s horrors. The bulk of the Syrian Druze live in the area known as the Druze Mountain in the south of the country, close to the Jordanian border. Two smaller clusters can be found in the north near Idlib and on both sides of the ceasefire line in the Golan, in several villages under Israeli control, and in the village of Hadar in the area contested by the Syrian army and a variety of opposition groups.


Israel and the Middle East’s Grim Realities

Complexity and ambivalence are inherent in Israel’s relationship with its Middle Eastern environment. Gaining a more than basic understanding of the current complexities involved requires an examination of at least two questions. First, how does Israel respond to the tumults affecting many of its neighbors and much of the Middle East? Second, how should observers think about the new challenges posed by a rapidly shifting strategic environment?

Israel and the Changing Middle East

Middle East Memo, no. 34 (Brookings, 29 January 2015)

Complexity and ambivalence are inherent in Israel’s relationship with its Middle Eastern environment. Israel’s national security agenda is shaped by the hostility of a large part of the Arab and Muslim worlds. During the past 66 years, Israel has been able to crack the wall of Arab hostility, to make peace with two Arab neighbors, and to establish semi-normal relations with several Arab states. But the Arab-Israeli conflict, and its Palestinian core in particular, rages on, and Iran has joined the fray as a powerful and determined adversary.

Bold decisions: Three Israeli Prime Ministers who went against their grain

Israel’s short and turbulent political history is punctuated by critical decisions both taken and not taken by its leaders. In 1948, David Ben Gurion carried his associates with him to declare statehood and independence, disregarding the uncertain odds and Secretary Marshall’s dire admonition. In the aftermath of June 1967 war, Levy Eshkol’s government coping with a complex new reality failed to make a decision regarding the disposition of the territories captured in the Sinai, the Golan Heights, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Middle Eastern Studies: A Celebration

Middle Eastern Studies, vol. 50, no. 6 (2014), page 851.

The late Elie Kedourie and his wife Sylvia G. Haim (Kedourie) have had a profound dual impact on Middle Eastern studies: as authors and editors of the most significant books and essays in the field and as founders and editors of the premier journal in the field, Middle Eastern Studies.


Ethnic politics in the Levant: A fresh perspective on the political careers of Zaki al-Arsouzi, Suleiman al-Murshid, and Antun Sa'adeh

Article published in: Meir Litvak and Bruce Maddy-Weitzman (editors), Nationalism, Identity and Politics: Israel and the Middle East – Studies in Honor of Prof. Asher Susser. Tel Aviv University: The Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies, 2014, pp. 13-28.

The Levant and the Fertile Crescent are in turmoil. These terms refer to two overlapping geographical entities. In its broadest sense, the term "Levant" refers to the eastern coast of the Mediterranean, but it is normally used in a narrower sense to designate the coastal area of Syria and Lebanon. The term "Fertile Crescent" refers to the relatively fertile area that surrounds the Arabian and Syrian deserts and comprises Iraq in addition to Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian territories. Iraq, Syria and Lebanon conform to the definition of a "failed state." Since the US invasion of Iraq in March 2003 and the destruction of Saddam Hussein's regime, and certainly since its departure in December 2011, the country has in fact been divided into three. Syria, since the outbreak of the crisis there in March 2011, is in a state of civil war and the government's effective control is limited to less than half of the country's territory. In Lebanon, Hezbollah is more powerful than the state. It has demonstrated its ability to take over the country but prefers not to do so and instead to continue to operate under the umbrella of the Lebanese state.

A Jewish State in an Arab World

Israel is facing a new and changing regional order in the Middle East. How will it respond?

Editor’s note: The following article is an excerpt from The Great Unraveling: The Remaking of the Middle East(Hoover), a series of essays by several distinguished Middle Eastern experts.

Israel looks at the Arab turmoil through a fractured lens: that of a powerful but anxious state, an important actor in Middle Eastern politics not fully integrated in the region, at peace with some Arab states and in conflict with other parts of the Arab and Muslim world.

The Changing of the Tide in the Syrian Civil War

INSS Insight No. 499, December 17, 2013

The tide is changing in the Syrian civil war. Bashar al-Assad and his regime are gaining momentum, the opposition is weakening, and some of its major traditional supporters seem to be reconsidering their position. These new trends influence the options available to those advocating transition to a more democratic and moderate regime in Syria as well as those who are primarily interested in the stability of the country and the region. As matters stand now, there does not seem to be a military solution, certainly not a desirable one, to the crisis. The opposition, which in 2012 and early 2013 seemed able to defeat the regime, now seems unable to achieve this. The regime has momentum on its side, but its prospect of reestablishing itself effectively throughout Syria is dim. A political diplomatic solution is the best option but it is doubtful that given his recent momentum, as well as Russian and Iranian support, Assad would be willing to step down.


The Regional Ramifications of Morsi's Removal from Power

The Caravan, July 31, 2013

Morsi’s removal from power and the exacerbation of the conflict over Egypt’s identity and political future add yet another compounding element to the murky arena of Middle Eastern regional politics.