Prof. Chuck Freilich, a former deputy national security advisor in Israel and long-time senior fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School, now teaches at Columbia and Tel Aviv University. He is the author of three books on Israeli national security affairs, as well as numerous academic articles, policy studies and op-eds. A frequent commentator on TV and radio, he is a riveting speaker, with a lively and at times irreverent approach to the foibles of Israeli life. A New Yorker by birth, Freilich made aliyah (immigrated) to Israel in his early teens.
Following a distinguished career in Israel’s defense establishment, Freilich spent 14 years as a senior fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School, where he focused on Israeli national security strategy and decision-making processes, US-Israeli relations and US Mideast policy.
Freilich has authored three ground breaking books on Israeli national security affairs:
- Zion’s Dilemmas: How Israel Makes National Security Policy (Cornell, 2012), the first book ever to focus solely on this issue, including a model of how Israel’s national security decision making process works and recommendations for change.
- Israeli National Security: a New Strategy for an Era of Change (Oxford, 2018), the most exhaustive book about Israeli national security to date, including the first ever public proposal for a comprehensive Israeli national security strategy.
- Israel and the Cyber Threat: How Israel Became a Cyber Superpower (forthcoming 2021), the first comprehensive book on the cyber threats Israel faces and the national strategy it has developed in response.
During this period Freilich also published some two dozen academic journal articles and policy studies and over 170 op-eds on Israeli national security affairs, US-Israeli relations, the Iranian nuclear issue, the peace process and more.
Freilich has taught undergraduate and graduate courses on the Middle East, Israeli national security, the Arab-Israeli peace process and strategic planning processes, at Harvard, Columbia, NYU and Tel Aviv University.
Freilich was a career official in Israel’s defense establishment. Having written his doctoral dissertation on the potential contribution of a national security council to Israel’s policymaking processes, Freilich was selected to serve on the Israel National Security Council shortly after its creation and was deeply involved in its early formative years. While at the Council he dealt with issues ranging from US-Israeli relations, to Iranian nuclear issue, Iraq, Lebanon and the Hezbollah threat, Israel’s early relations with India and much more. Freilich participated in the first strategic dialogues with Russia and India, the ongoing strategic dialogue with the US and was a member of the special team dispatched to Washington for final policy coordination on the eve of the Second Gulf War.
Prior to serving in the National Security Council, Freilich was a senior analyst in the Israel Ministry of Defense, focusing on strategic affairs, a policy adviser to a cabinet minister and a delegate at the Israel Mission to the United Nations. He served in the Israel Defense Forces for five years in the areas of strategic planning and policy analysis.
Chuck Freilich – Public Speaking and Advocacy
Balanced and objective expert analysis, wrapped in a deep love for Israel and concern over its many national security challenges, are the hallmark of Freilich’s engrossing speaking style. Together, they enable him to immerse an audience in a riveting narrative and hold its rapt attention.
Freilich has spoken to a wide variety of professional, general public and Jewish audiences, including the Council on Foreign Relations, Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Kennedy School Forum, AIPAC, AJC, FIDF, JNF, synagogues and numerous colleges and universities.
Freilich has appeared on a variety of Israeli, American and international TV and radio stations, including NBC, ABC, CNN, NPR, Al Jazeera, CCTG (Chinese TV), I24, France 24 and more. He has also been quoted in the NY Times, Washington Post and other leading media.
Freilich is a prolific author of op-eds on Israeli, Middle Eastern and US-Mideast affairs. His op-eds have appeared in the NY Times, Haaretz, Jerusalem Post, the American Interest, Foreign Policy, Mosaic, Newsweek, LA Times, National Interest and more.
Chuck Freilich earned his MS from Tel Aviv University and MPhil and PhD from Columbia University. Freilich has been a member of the executive committees of the Movement for Quality Government in Israel and Commanders for Israeli Security (CIS). Freilich is married and has two grown children. He lives in Hod Hasharon and spends one semester each year teaching in the US.