Since the founding of the State of Israel in the 20th century, the Jewish people, for the first time in thousands of years, have had to begin thinking strategically in a geopolitical sense. As such, the questions of Israeli foreign policy and grand strategy are lively ones, as the young state must navigate the 21st century with its decentralized power centers, nuclear proliferation, and the new cyberspace frontier, along with more traditional issues of geopolitics. An integral part of Israeli foreign policy has been its relationship with the United States of America, and America’s role in the world is as important an issue for Israelis as it is for Americans. To that end, many of our fellows conduct research projects in the realm of foreign policy and grand strategy.
Eli Nirenberg is a native of Indiana and a recent graduate from Washington University in St. Louis with a BA in Economics and Political Science. There, he was the President of the WashU Israel Public Affairs Committee (WIPAC), a student group promoting the bond between the US and Israel. Eli has previously worked on political campaigns and interned at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). He has also written various articles, including in the Washington University Political Review, Jewish News Syndicate, and the Times of Israel. Eli has also participated in Tikvah’s Campus Antisemitism and US-Israel working groups, as well as the Tikvah Collegiate Forum. He has a passion for politics and a particular fascination with the US-Israel relationship. After attending yeshiva this fall, he aspires to find a career path where he can engage with both these interests. As a Beren Summer Fellow, Eli investigated whether Israel could find a middle path in the Russo-Ukrainian War, increasing support for Ukraine to satisfy the US while avoiding a Russian backlash in Syria and Iran. Eli engaged in vigorous research on Russian foreign policy, the war in Ukraine, American interests in the Middle East, the Israel-Iran rivalry, and other regional powers including Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and China, culminating in an article released in the fall of 2023.
Jacob Leon is a Public Interest Fellow and a policy analyst at the China Economic and Strategy Initiative. In 2023, he graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Washington University in St. Louis, where he received the Arnold J. Lien prize for the outstanding undergraduate in political science. In 2022, he received a National Defense Fellowship from the Ronald Reagan Institute and the Alexander Hamilton Society. As a 2022 Beren Fellow, Jacob researched Chinese involvement in the recent expansion of Haifa's Port. Jacob’s project situated the port controversy in a comprehensive research exercise. He completed a sweeping curriculum on Chinese strategic thought, maritime strategy, geoeconomics, and China’s relationship with Israel and the Middle East. Jacob also participated in Tikvah’s weekly Israel-China Working Group, a forum for young policy professionals to discuss and analyze the “China issue” through the US-Israel relationship’s lens. Jacob's project culminated in an article on the U.S.-Israel-China relationship published in Asia Times.
Talia Katz was born in Atlanta, Georgia to a father from Israel and a mother from Brooklyn. She recently graduated the University of Michigan with a degree in public policy and international studies. While at the University of Michigan, Talia was a member of the American Enterprise Institute Executive Council and WeListen, a grassroots organization which aims to bridge the political divide by facilitating respectful political discussions. While living in Washington, D.C. for eight months last year, Talia interned at AIPAC, Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and the State Department's Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs. This September, Talia will begin a two-year fellowship program in D.C. with the Public Interest Fellowship. As a Beren Summer Fellow, Talia investigated what the next step should be in strengthening the U.S. — Israel relationship following the Abraham Accords. Talia consulted various commentators, lawyers, policy analysts, and diplomats to create a policy memo for Senator Tom Cotton’s office outlining some policy options his team should consider, given the opportunities opened up for US - Israel relations under the Trump administration.
Dr. Kenneth Weinstein
Kenneth R. Weinstein is the Walter P. Stern Distinguished Fellow at Hudson Institute. From 2011 through 2020, Dr. Weinstein served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Hudson Institute. Previously, Dr. Weinstein chaired the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the oversight body for U.S. Agency for Global Media, and was chair of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. A political theorist by training, his academic work focused on the early Enlightenment. Dr. Weinstein earned his B.A. in General Studies in the Humanities from the University of Chicago, D.E.A. in Soviet and Eastern European studies from Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris, and Ph.D. in government from Harvard University. He has taught on the faculty of Georgetown University and Claremont McKenna College.
Michael Doran is a senior fellow and director of the Center for Peace and Security in the Middle East at Hudson Institute. He specializes in Middle East security issues and co-hosts the Counterbalance podcast. In the administration of President George W. Bush, he served in the White House as a senior director in the National Security Council as well as a senior advisor in the State Department and a deputy assistant secretary of defense in the Pentagon. He was previously a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and held teaching positions at New York University, Princeton University, and the University of Central Florida. He is the author of several books—most recently, Ike’s Gamble— and has published extensively in Foreign Affairs, the American Interest, Commentary, Mosaic, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and the New York Times.
Carrie Filipetti currently serves as the executive director of the Vandenberg Coalition. Prior to this role, Carrie served as deputy assistant secretary for Cuba and Venezuela in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs and the deputy special representative for Venezuela at the U.S. Department of State, for which she received a Superior Honor Award. From 2019-2020, Carrie served as the senior advisor to the Havana Incidents Task Force, where she was responsible for coordinating an inter-agency effort to address the causes of unexplained health incidents affecting U.S. personnel, and identifying proper long-term care mechanisms. Prior to these roles, Carrie served as a senior policy advisor for the United States Mission to the United Nations (USUN), where she advised U.S. Ambassador Nikki R. Haley on issues related to counterterrorism, the Middle East, and the Western Hemisphere. Carrie began her career at The Paul E. Singer Foundation, where she served as director of portfolio management. In her capacity as director of the foundation, Carrie served as a senior advisor and co-founder of Start-Up Nation Central, a Tel-Aviv based non-profit that seeks to connect the world with Israeli innovation.
Associate Director, University Programs