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Chuck Freilich

Mailing address

One Brattle Square 505
79 John F. Kennedy Street
Mailbox 134
Cambridge, MA, 02138

Chuck Freilich

Senior Fellow, International Security Program

Telephone: 617-495-8898
Fax: 617-496-0606



Contact Information in Israel:
telefax: (972) 778-140-042
cell: (972) 544-880-677

U.S. cell number:
917 575-0273

Chuck Freilich was a Deputy National Security Adviser in Israel. He is now an International Security Program Senior Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, where he has recently completed a first of its kind book on Israeli national security decision-making processes, Zion's Dilemmas: How Israel Makes National Security Policy, Cornell University Press, November 2012. He is now working on a new book on Israeli national security strategy, to be submitted for publication by early 2014.

Chuck's primary areas of expertise are the Middle East, U.S.-Middle East policy, and Israeli national security policy. He is an Adjunct Professor of political science at Harvard, New York, Columbia, and Tel Aviv Universities.

Chuck has appeared as a commentator for ABC, CNN, NPR, Al Jazeera and various U.S. and Israeli radio and TV stations. He has been quoted in the New York Times and other media and has published numerous articles and op-eds.

Chuck was a Senior Analyst at the Israel Ministry of Defense, focusing on strategic affairs, Policy Adviser to a cabinet minister and a Delegate at the Israeli Mission to the United Nations. He was the Executive Director of two nonprofit organizations and served in the Israel Defense Forces for five years (reserve major). Chuck earned his Ph.D. from Columbia University. Born in New York, he immigrated to Israel in his teens.



By Date



Creative Commons

September 7, 2015

"The Middle East After the Iran Nuclear Deal: Chuck Freilich"


By Zachary Laub and Chuck Freilich, Senior Fellow, International Security Program

"A takeover of Syria by the self-proclaimed Islamic State or Syrian rebel groups would also prove dangerous. Heinous as it is, Bashar al-Assad's regime still has many assets to lose in a confrontation with Israel and can thus be deterred. It will take time for non-state actors to develop similar assets."



August 26, 2015

"Israel's Least Bad Options the Day After the Iran Deal"

Op-Ed, World Politics Review

By Chuck Freilich, Senior Fellow, International Security Program

"As an unprecedented and recently published Israel Defense Forces document on national security strategy emphasizes, the primary threats Israel faces today all stem from radical Islamist organizations, such as Hezbollah and the Islamic State. They not only seek Israel's demise, but a transformation of the entire Middle East, threatening what remains of the regional state system...."



White House

August 6, 2015

"The President's Speech: Choosing Between Mom and Dad"


By Chuck Freilich, Senior Fellow, International Security Program

"..."[I]t is time for the Prime Minister to come to his senses and to understand that a small country, whose very existence depends today on the United States, cannot physically block a major presidential initiative. Instead, he would be wise to work with the American administration to close gaps in the agreement, maintain close intelligence supervision of Iran's observance of the agreement, and even to take advantage of this moment to try and reach an historic defense treaty with the United States."



Wikimedia CC-SA-3.0

August 4, 2015

"Only the Defense Strategy Remains Unchanged"


By Chuck Freilich, Senior Fellow, International Security Program

When a nation's strategic environment, military threats, and society undergo fundamental change, it is time for a fundamental change in its national security doctrine. It is ths surprising that while the threats are increasingly disappearing, the defense budget continues to grow and a substantive change in the national security doctrine has yet to take place.




"Israel's Counter-Terrorism Policy: How Effective?"

Journal Article, Terrorism and Political Violence

By Chuck Freilich, Senior Fellow, International Security Program

The percentage of Israelis killed by terrorism is higher than in any other democracy. The article analyzes the threats Israel has faced, the impact terrorism has had on Israel, and the counter-terrorism policies Israel has adopted.



U.S. Gov Photo

July 21, 2015

"It's Actually Good for Israel"


By Chuck Freilich, Senior Fellow, International Security Program

"Benjamin Netanyahu should have accepted U.S. policy long ago, rather than positioning himself as the primary and maybe sole opponent among U.S. allies. The defamation campaign now expected against the agreement in the Congress is destined to fail, and even if the totally unexpected occurs, it will be the Israeli Prime Minister who will have personally blocked the primary foreign policy initiative of the Obama presidency."



Wikimedia CC 3.0

July 21, 2015

"Iran Deal Is the Least Bad Option for Israel"

Op-Ed, The Huffington Post

By Chuck Freilich, Senior Fellow, International Security Program

"For 10–15 years Israel will not have to live under the specter of a nuclear Iran and of an existential threat. For a country whose security situation is as precarious as Israel's, that is a mouthful. Moreover, it will enable Israel to focus on the threats posed by Hezbollah's mammoth rocket arsenal, now estimated at over 130,000 strong, and on Hamas and ISIS, as well as long needed educational, health and other domestic reforms."




July 20, 2015

"A Good Deal for Israel"

Op-Ed, The New York Times

By Chuck Freilich, Senior Fellow, International Security Program

"The agreement's detractors have been long on invective, short on suggestions. A collapse of the talks would have freed Iran to go forward and left America struggling to maintain a sanctions regime weakened by international disunity. Israel would have remained isolated, left only with the military option. These are hardly desirable outcomes."



White House Photo

July 20, 2015

"Endangering Israel's Security"

Op-Ed, The Jerusalem Post

By Chuck Freilich, Senior Fellow, International Security Program

"...[T]here is virtually no chance Netanyahu can defeat Obama in Congress. It comes down to 13 Democratic Senators. Who, in the final analysis, is likely to have greater sway over them, the Israeli premier, or the president of the USA? I remember well the dramatic vote on the sale of AWACS to the Saudis in 1981, the last time we directly took on a president (and lost). One of the modern senatorial greats was ardently against the deal until the last, at which time he was convinced by the president's eloquent strategic arguments."



July 17, 2015

"The Experts Assess the Iran Agreement of 2015: Chuck Freilich"

Op-Ed, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

By Chuck Freilich, Senior Fellow, International Security Program

"It is time for the prime minister to accept that this is the deal and to do what he should have done from the beginning: engage with the administration on the means of minimizing the threat to Israel and maximizing Israel's contribution to the agreement's successful implementation. Israel has intelligence capabilities and experience that can be invaluable in the years to come."

Events Calendar

We host a busy schedule of events throughout the fall, winter and spring. Past guests include: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, former Vice President Al Gore, and former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev.