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Israel and U.S. Foreign Policy

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.

Past Fellows

Jacob Leon

Jacob Leon is a rising senior at Washington University in St. Louis (WashU), where
he majors in political science with a minor in the modern Middle East. In WashU’s
political science department, Jacob served as an Undergraduate Teaching Assistant
for a social science methods course and has conducted research on both international
terrorism and Israeli-Palestinian violence. In 2021, Jacob was WashU’s Israel on Campus Coalition Fellow and Secretary for the WashU Chabad Student Association. 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 is currently finalizing a policy paper offering recommendations towards Israel’s maritime stance, which he aims to edit and publish in the coming months.

Jacob Frankel

Jacob Frankel is from Cincinnati, Ohio and is currently studying Political Science and Economics at Washington University in St. Louis. While at Washington University, Jacob is the editor of the Jewish weekly known as “The Shtick.” Last semester, Jacob worked for the Missouri Public Defender’s Office in downtown St. Louis, helping children through the legal system. As a 2022 Beren Fellow, Jacob spent the summer researching for Ken Weinstein, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, on the effects of the Chinese Belt and Road initiative in Asia paired with declining U.S. global influence. Jacob analyzed how Chinese uses international infrastructure spending to achieve foreign policy objectives.

Talia Katz

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

Hudson Institute

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

Hudson Institute

Dr. Michael Doran is a Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C. He received his Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton University and held numerous high-level positions in the administration of George W. Bush. He appears frequently on television and has published extensively in Mosaic, Foreign Affairs, the American Interest, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and the New York Times. His most recent book is Ike’s Gamble: America’s Rise to Dominance in the Middle East.

Vance Serchuk

Executive Director of the KKR Global Institute

Vance Serchuk is executive director of the KKR Global Institute. Prior to joining KKR, Mr. Serchuk served for six years as the senior national security advisor to Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-Connecticut). In this capacity, he worked on a broad range of international issues, including comprehensive sanctions legislation, the U.S. rebalance to the Asia-Pacific, and the U.S. response to the Arab Spring, traveling to over 60 countries in Asia, Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East. From January to July 2013, he was a Council on Foreign Relations-Hitachi International Affairs Fellow, based in Japan, and a regular columnist for the Washington Post. His writings have also appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Los Angeles Times. Mr. Serchuk is a summa cum laude graduate of Princeton University, holds a JD from Yale Law School, and was a Fulbright scholar in the Russian Federation.

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