Michigan State University

Yael S. Aronoff is the Michael and Elaine Serling and Friends Chair of Israel Studies at Michigan State University, is Director of Jewish Studies at MSU, and is an Associate Professor of International Relations, who teaches in James Madison College at MSU. She received her Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University in 2001. She also holds an M.I.A. in international affairs from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (1992), and a B.A. in international relations from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of International Affairs and Public Policy (1990). She has served as Assistant for Regional Humanitarian Programs in the Pentagon’s Office of Humanitarian and Refugee Affairs and in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as a Jacob K. Javits Fellow.  She was Senior Associate at Columbia University’s Institute of War and Peace Studies. She is Book Review Editor for Israel Studies Review and on the Board of Directors of the Association for Israel Studies. Dr. Aronoff is a 2011 recipient of the MSU Teacher-Scholar Award and is the 2015 recipient of the John K. Hudzik Emerging Leader in Advancing International Studies and Programs Award at MSU.

Yael Aronoff’s book, The Political Psychology of Israeli Prime Ministers: When Hard-Liners Opt for Peace, was published by Cambridge University Press May 2014. The differences in ideology and personality among the six Israeli prime ministers analyzed had a significant impact on their image of the enemy, their perception of and reaction to regional events, and ultimately on their ability to reach an agreement with the PLO and the Palestinian Authority.

Dr. Aronoff’s current book project, The Dilemmas of Asymmetric Conflicts, will contribute to new understandings of the tensions faced by democracies such as Israel and the United States fighting long-standing asymmetric wars. It examines the evolving norms of asymmetric warfare, the pressures of accountability to international and national audiences, and the need to project legitimacy in the media wars surrounding these conflicts.

Dr. Aronoff has published in Foreign Policy, Political Science Quarterly, Israel Studies, and Israel Studies Review. Recent book chapters include, “Predicting Peace: The Contingent Nature of Leadership and Domestic Politics in Israel,” in Democracy and Conflict Resolution: the Dilemmas of Israel’s Peacemaking eds. Hendrik Spruyt, Miriam F. Elman, and Oded Haklai (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2014) and “Bordering on Peace: Spatial Narratives of Israeli Border Crossings with Jordan and Egypt.” Co-author:  Eric Aronoff in Frontiers: Topographies of Surveillance and Flows. Eds. Carolyn Loeb and Andreas Luescher, (New York:  Ashgate, forthcoming).

Professor Aronoff has given over 70 public lectures to academic and to public audiences.


  • The Political Psychology of Israeli Prime Ministers: When Hard-Liners Opt for Peace
  • Prospects for Peace: Progress and Setbacks in Negotiating an Israeli-Palestinian Peace Agreement
  • The Challenges of Asymmetric Conflict: Continuing Questions from the Israeli Experience
  • Shifting Sands in the Middle East: Opportunities and Challenges for Israel
  • US-Israeli Relations in a Changing Middle East