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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



Rudi Weissenstein Photo

April 3, 2014

"Why Palestine Must Recognize Israel as a Jewish State"

Op-Ed, National Interest

By Chuck Freilich, Senior Fellow, International Security Program

"The Jews' right to a nation-state was recognized by the League of Nations and United Nations. Israel is and always will be the nation-state of the Jewish people. That is its raison d'être, and it is high time that the Palestinians reconcile themselves to this."



March 19, 2014

"U.S.-Egyptian Relations on the Brink?"

Op-Ed, National Interest

By Chuck Freilich, Senior Fellow, International Security Program

"Relations with authoritarian regimes have long posed a deep dilemma for American policy, between US strategic interests and the exigencies of realpolitik—the need to deal with the world as it is, not as we want it to be—and America's democratic ideals. In the pursuit of the former, the US has long supported numerous heinous regimes, none more so than the Saudi oil theocracy, or South Korea and South Vietnam in the 1960s and 1970s."



U.S. State Dept. Photo

December 6, 2013

"A Good Agreement for Israel"


By Chuck Freilich, Senior Fellow, International Security Program

"By the very nature of compromise agreements, no side achieves all of its objectives. The danger is that by insisting on our maximum position, a complete elimination of the nuclear program, we will fail to achieve that which is feasible—freezing and rolling back the program and keeping it under inspection."



Wikimedia Commons

December 3, 2013

"The Other Iranian Breakthrough"

Op-Ed, Al-Monitor

By Chuck Freilich, Senior Fellow, International Security Program

"Israel's focus over the coming months, however, should be on an attempt to conduct an intensive and discrete dialogue with the United States and other powers involved, to ensure that the final agreement is the best one possible, given the circumstances. Unfortunately, there will not be a knockout blow and Israel will probably have to continue living with an ongoing, if greatly diminished, Iranian threat. Not the outcome we sought, but apparently better than the alternatives."



White House Photo

November 27, 2013

"Netanyahu's Finest Hour—Or Not"

Op-Ed, National Interest

By Chuck Freilich, Senior Fellow, International Security Program

"Netanyahu’s hard line is thus both understandable and at least partly justified, but his harsh criticism of the agreement ('a historic mistake') has been too strident, positioning Israel to look as the primary opponent of the agreement and exposing a rift with its irreplaceable ally, the United States. Moreover, in so blatantly positioning himself in opposition, he has probably undermined his own most important objective at this time—ensuring that the final agreement is the best deal possible."



November 15, 2013

"A Bad Deal on Iran?"

Op-Ed, American Interest

By Chuck Freilich, Senior Fellow, International Security Program

"The Obama administration maintains that the sanctions relief offered in exchange was limited and would not have undermined the basic sanctions regime, which has had a devastating effect on Iran's oil exports and access to the international financial system. It also argues, correctly, that a negotiated deal is preferable to the alternatives and the best outcome for all parties concerned, Israel and Saudi Arabia included."



November 14, 2013

"Iran: Deal in the Making, or Persian Carpet Ride?"

Op-Ed, National Interest

By Chuck Freilich, Senior Fellow, International Security Program

"Iran is certainly conducting an unprecedented charm offensive—some might say trying to take the international community on a Persian carpet ride—in the hopes of lifting the sanctions, or of shifting the blame to the U.S. and peeling off countries from the existing sanctions regime, in the event of failure. The question remains whether it truly is willing to forgo a military nuclear capability and reach what would be a painful compromise deal for all."



U.S. State Dept. Photo

October 5, 2013

"What Is Good for Obama Is Good for Us Too"

Op-Ed, Haaretz

By Chuck Freilich, Senior Fellow, International Security Program

"Israel of 2013 is a strong and secure country, certainly compared to the past. The countries around us are falling apart, and we no longer face existential threats (unless, possibly, if Iran goes nuclear). Hezbollah, Hamas and their ilk can cause us significant damage, but not threaten our fundamental security, and the primary threat they present is to buildings, infrastructure, and the economy, rather than a loss of lives. This is bad enough, but the threat is limited, and we have learned to deter Hezbollah and Hamas and to bring about prolonged cessations of hostilities."



Wikimedia Commons

September 14, 2013

"Syria Deal: As Good As It Gets?"

Op-Ed, National Interest

By Chuck Freilich, Senior Fellow, International Security Program

"Amidst all of the uncertainty surrounding the details of the Russian proposal and the chances of it actually being implemented, there are, however, two near-certainties. Syria will do everything possible to delay, prevent, circumvent and minimize the actual transfer of its chemical arsenal to international control, let alone dismantlement, and will enjoy significant Russian and Iranian backing in these efforts."



August 20, 2013

"Egypt: Balancing Interests Over Values"

Op-Ed, National Interest

By Chuck Freilich, Senior Fellow, International Security Program

"Obama has a few primary options. One is to stand firmly behind American values, as advocated by recent editorials in the New York Times and Washington Post and adopt the calls by senators McCain and Graham to suspend all aid. For all the billions in aid over the decades, however, the United States now finds itself with little leverage in Egypt, and by alienating the regime it risks being left with none. Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE are already rushing in to fill the diplomatic and economic vacuum, and ultimately Russia will provide weapons without any conditions."



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