Ariel (Eli) Levite

Nonresident Senior Associate
Nuclear Policy Program
Levite was the principal deputy director general for policy at the Israeli Atomic Energy Commission from 2002 to 2007.


PhD, Cornell University
MA, Cornell University
BA, Tel Aviv University


English; Hebrew


Ariel (Eli) Levite is a nonresident senior associate in the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment.

Prior to joining the Carnegie Endowment, Levite was the principal deputy director general for policy at the Israeli Atomic Energy Commission from 2002 to 2007. He also served as the deputy national security adviser for defense policy and was head of the Bureau of International Security and Arms Control in the Israeli Ministry of Defense.

In September 2000, Levite took a two-year sabbatical from the Israeli civil service to work as a visiting fellow and co-leader of the Discriminate Force Project at the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) at Stanford University.

Before his government service, Levite worked for five years as a senior research associate and head of the project on Israeli security at the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University. He has taught courses on security studies and political science at Tel Aviv University, Cornell University, and the University of California, Davis.

He has been awarded the Dr. Jean Mayer Global Citizenship Award at Tufts University’s Institute for Global Leadership and the Chevalier dans l’Ordre National de la Legion d’Honneur.

Levite is the author of “Will Nuclear War Break Out in the Middle East?” in Francois Heisbourg (ed.), Do Nuclear Weapons Have a Future?, Paris, France: Odile Jacob, 2011; “Reflections on Nuclear Opacity,” in Bruno Tertrais (ed.), A Tribute to Sir Michael Quinlan, Paris: France, forthcoming; “Rethinking Nuclear Abolition,” in A report to the Trilateral Commission 64, Washington, Paris, and Tokyo: The Trilateral Commission, 2010; “Global Zero: An Israeli Vision of Realistic Idealism,” The Washington Quarterly Vol. 32, No. 2, April 2010; “Heading for the Fourth Nuclear Age,” IFRI Proliferation Papers No. 24, Winter 2009; “Reflections on a Multilateral Base Camp,” Working Paper, Center for American Progress, July 2009; “The Current Proliferation Predicament” in Joseph E. Pilat, (ed.), Atoms for Peace: A Future After Fifty Years, Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson Center and the Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007; “Never Say Never Again: Nuclear Reversal Revisited,” International Security Vol. 27, No. 3, Winter 2002–2003; “The Case for Discriminate Force,” with Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, Survival Vol. 4, No. 4, Winter 2002-2003; Offense and Defense in Israeli Military Defense Doctrine, Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1989; Intelligence and Strategic Surprises, NY: Columbia University Press, 1987; and Israel’s Nuclear Image. Levite has also authored, contributed, and co-edited other works, including Foreign Military Intervention and Deterrence in the Middle East.

  • Op-Ed Arms Control Today January 27, 2015
    Looking Beyond the Interim Deal

    Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei continues to procrastinate because he hopes to tactically leverage U.S. President Barack Obama’s eagerness for a deal into even better terms.

  • Podcast January 20, 2015
    Iran Nuclear Talks

    Neither Iran nor any of the P5+1 negotiating parties want the current talks to fall through, yet it remains to be seen whether remaining areas of disagreement can be bridged.

  • The Limits of Secure Nuclear Tolerance, Moscow, National Institute of Corporate Reform December 31, 2014
    Criteria for the Assessment of Undeclared Nuclear Weapons Development

    The realization that nuclear technology is, at its core, dual-use in nature occurred early on in the nuclear age, and it has been fundamental to every effort to harness the positive potential widely believed to be inherent in nuclear technology, while minimizing its risks.

  • Article June 10, 2014 عربي
    An Israeli Perspective on Syria

    In response to the open-ended Syrian civil war and the policy dilemmas it raises, the Israeli government has essentially decided to take a backseat.

  • Op-Ed Politico September 10, 2013
    Obama’s Opportunity in Syria

    Washington should endorse the Russian proposal and invest President Vladimir Putin’s prestige in winning Syria’s assent and full, timely implementation. Such an outcome would be better than military action and better than no action.

  • Op-Ed Atlantisch Perspectief December 31, 2012
    U.S.-Israel Relations in the Aftermath of the Elections

    With Israeli elections two months away and Obama's second term administration barely beginning to take shape, key factors affecting the bilateral relationship remain highly uncertain.

  • Op-Ed Haaretz December 22, 2012
    Win-Win Warfare in Gaza

    After the recent fighting in Gaza, both Israel and Hamas can point to military successes and limited losses, which could offer a way to escape the cycle of revenge that would have been triggered by the humiliation or defeat of either side.

  • Article June 1, 2012
    IAEA Critical for Making Diplomacy with Iran Work

    An IAEA agreement with Iran that permits the agency to do the needed work to open the way for a negotiated roadmap for lifting sanctions could serve as a model for future conflict resolution with other states, first and foremost with North Korea and Syria.

  • Op-Ed New York Times April 12, 2012
    How to Tell if the Iran Talks Are Working

    Though the participants in the negotiations about Iran's nuclear program foresee several rounds of discussions, all are acutely aware that time to reach agreement peacefully may be running out.

  • After Fukushima: Early Implications for Nuclear In
    Article March 15, 2011
    After Fukushima: Early Implications for Nuclear Industry and Policy Makers

    Amidst the drama of the worst seismic catastrophe in Japan’s recorded history, the Japanese government and its nuclear industry have been struggling to prevent a power reactor core melt accident similar to that which occurred at Three Mile Island in the United States three decades ago.

  • March 23, 2015
    Can Nuclear Regulation Be Credible?

    What are the challenges in ensuring credible regulation? How important is independence and how should it be achieved? Are there risks that too much regulation could strangle the development of new technologies? And how can public confidence in nuclear power be improved? | AUDIO

  • November 24, 2014 Beijing 中文
    Bird’s-Eye View of the Iran Nuclear Negotiations

    Stakeholders in Iranian nuclear negotiations must manage their strategic considerations to preserve Tehran’s right to produce nuclear energy while also reducing the program’s military potential.

  • September 15, 2011 Washington, D.C.
    Announcing the Nuclear Power Plant Exporters’ Principles of Conduct

    The world's major vendor companies of civilian nuclear power plants have agreed to apply a common set of principles in their exporting decisions and practices.

  • March 29, 2011
    Innovating Nuclear Governance

    Many observers feel that the nuclear order is breaking down or failing to keep up with technological developments and the emergence of new powers. What alternatives are there for strengthening nuclear governance?

  • March 28, 2011
    Atoms for Peace

    The spread of nuclear power to new states highlights the importance of corporate responsibility within the nuclear industry in facilitating adherence to global standards of nuclear safety, security, and nonproliferation.

  • March 28, 2011
    Implications of Japan's Nuclear Disaster

    Is the Japan nuclear disaster site-specific or does it have broader implications for the credibility and viability of nuclear energy worldwide?

  • Jacques Bouchard
    April 7, 2009 Washington, D.C.
    PART 2: Challenges to Global Nuclear Power: Technological, Political, and Economic

    Experts discussed the obstacles to a genuine worldwide nuclear energy renaissance.

  • Sameh Shoukry
    April 7, 2009 Washington, D.C.
    Nuclear-Weapon-Free-Zones: Past Lessons and Future Prospects

    Experts examined the lessons learned from several existing NWFZs and assessed the prospects for and potential benefits of additional zones.

  • Leonard Spector and Carla Robbins
    April 6, 2009 Washington, D.C.
    Nuclear Crisis Points: Iran, North Korea, Syria, and Pakistan

    Experts discussed critical developments in these key countries and how their nuclear ambitions will affect efforts to curb the spread of nuclear appetites and weapons around the world.

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