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Professor Nadav Safran (August 25, 1925, Cairo – July 5, 2003, State College, PA) was an expert in Arab and Middle East politics, and a former director of Harvard’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies.

Safran was born in Cairo in 1925 to Joseph and Jeanne (Abadi) Safran, parents of oriental Jewish heritage. He married Anita Balicka on June 9, 1955 and had three daughters — Abigail, Nina, and Elizabeth.

Safran worked on a kibbutz in 1946 and fought as a lieutenant in Israel's War of Independence, also known as the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. After the armistice was signed in 1949, he moved to the United States in 1950 and attended Brandeis University, graduating with a B.A. in 1954, and received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1956.

He remained at Harvard to teach government for two years and then worked as a research fellow at the university's Center for Middle East Studies. He became director of the Center For Middle East Studies and during that time, acted as an adviser to the White House for the Middle East issues. In the early 1980s, it came to light that he had accepted large sums of funding from the CIA without disclosing the fact to the university. After the ensuing scandal was extensively covered in the Harvard Crimson and the Boston Globe, he resigned his position as the head of the Middle East Center. He retired as a professor from Harvard in 2002, and died of cancer in 2003 at the age of 77.

Safran had been honored with fellowships from Harvard, Yale and Princeton Universities, from the Sheldon, Guggenheim, Rockefeller and Ford Foundations, and from the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences.


  • (January 1961) Egypt in Search of Political Community : An Analysis of the Intellectual and Political Evolution of Egypt, 1804-1952 (Harvard Middle Eastern Studies) ISBN 0-674-24150-9
  • (January 1963) United States and Israel ISBN 0-674-92490-8
  • (January 1969) From War to War: The Arab-Israeli Confrontation, 1948-1967; A Study of the Conflict from the Perspective of Coercion in the Context of Inter-Arab and ISBN 0-672-63540-2
  • (August 1981) Israel: The Embattled Ally' ISBN 0-674-46882-1
  • (September 1985) Saudi Arabia: The Ceaseless Quest for Security ISBN 0-674-78985-7
  • Israeli politics since the 1967 war ASIN B0007AE89W
  • Israel today; a profile (1965) ASIN B0006BN3FM

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