Please join the Intelligence Project at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy for a conversation with Dr. Ronen Bergman, staff writer for the New York Times and author of Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel's Targeted AssassinationsIn this seminar, Dr. Bergman will discuss his bestselling book as well as the latest developments in the conflict between US, Israel, the Gulf States & Iran.

About Rise and Kill First:

"The Talmud says: “If someone comes to kill you, rise up and kill him first.” This instinct to take every measure, even the most aggressive, to defend the Jewish people is hardwired into Israel’s DNA. From the very beginning of its statehood in 1948, protecting the nation from harm has been the responsibility of its intelligence community and armed services, and there is one weapon in their vast arsenal that they have relied upon to thwart the most serious threats: Targeted assassinations have been used countless times, on enemies large and small, sometimes in response to attacks against the Israeli people and sometimes preemptively.

In this page-turning, eye-opening book, journalist and military analyst Ronen Bergman—praised by David Remnick as “arguably [Israel’s] best investigative reporter”—offers a riveting inside account of the targeted killing programs: their successes, their failures, and the moral and political price exacted on the men and women who approved and carried out the missions.

Bergman has gained the exceedingly rare cooperation of many current and former members of the Israeli government, including Prime Ministers Shimon Peres, Ehud Barak, Ariel Sharon, and Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as high-level figures in the country’s military and intelligence services: the IDF (Israel Defense Forces), the Mossad (the world’s most feared intelligence agency), Caesarea (a “Mossad within the Mossad” that carries out attacks on the highest-value targets), and the Shin Bet (an internal security service that implemented the largest targeted assassination campaign ever, in order to stop what had once appeared to be unstoppable: suicide terrorism.

Including never-before-reported, behind-the-curtain accounts of key operations, and based on hundreds of on-the-record interviews and thousands of files to which Bergman has gotten exclusive access over his decades of reporting, Rise and Kill First brings us deep into the heart of Israel’s most secret activities. Bergman traces, from statehood to the present, the gripping events and thorny ethical questions underlying Israel’s targeted killing campaign, which has shaped the Israeli nation, the Middle East, and the entire world."

Rise And Kill First is a New York Times Bestseller, Winner of the National Jewish Book Award, and has been or is being translated to 25 languages. It was chosen as one of the best 10 books of 2018 by the NYTimes critics and it is being adopted in a dramatic HBO tv series.

Dr. Ronen Bergman is the Senior Correspondent for Military and Intelligence Affairs for Yedioth Ahronoth, Israel’s largest circulated daily newspaper, and a Contributing Writer for The New York Times, writing extensively on Middle Eastern security, military and intelligence affairs. He has also published in Haaretz, The Wall Street Journal, Foreign Affairs, Newsweek, Der Spiegel and other major media outlets.

Writing extensively on intelligence, national security, terrorism and nuclear affairs, he is internationally recognized as one of the world’s leading experts in his field. Hundreds of investigative articles and cover stories that have appeared under his byline have made an international impact. Bergman is “arguably Israel’s best investigative journalist,” according to David Remnick of The New Yorker, and “…the foremost expert on the Mossad” according to Der Spiegel editor-in-chief, Georg Mascolo.

His New York Times Magazine cover story on Israel’s willingness to exchange thousands of terrorists for its POWs won enthusiastic reviews. Another cover story, on Prime Minister Netanyahu’s secret plan to attack Iran, stirred an international storm. His NYTimes January 2017 Op-ed on ethics of war in Israel was chosen as the front page headline of it’s international edition. The revelations about the KGB disinformation which led to eruption of the Six Day War and the disclosure of the Mossad files on the hunt for Joseph Mengele, both created much international interest and follow-ups.

Bergman is the author of five bestselling Hebrew-language non-fiction books, covering topics that range from government corruption and the conflict in the Middle East to Israel’s POWs and MIAs, the Iranian nuclear project, and Mossad activities. The Secret War with Iran, was published in the United States by Simon & Schuster. In one of the enthusiastic reviews it received, the book was described by the Economist as “an enthralling read.” His next book, Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel’s Targeted Assassinations, will be published by Random House in January 2018.

Dr. Bergman is the recipient, among other prizes, of the Sokolow Award (2017), Israel’s most esteemed prize for journalism, which was given to him for “a number of important and courageous journalistic exposés.” He was awarded B’nai Brith’s international press prize in 1996, honored as “Knight Of Journalism” by the Movement for Quality Government in Israel in 2004, and in 2013 was one of the three finalists for the Henri Nannen Award, Germany’s equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize.

For many years, Dr. Bergman has waged a struggle for freedom of information and freedom of investigative journalism in Israel. His articles on the subject and petitions he has submitted to the courts have led to the opening of many classified files and transcripts of legal proceedings in security-related cases. Dr. Bergman was the Israeli member of the international press team that reviewed and published the Wikileaks and Snowden documents.

A member of the Israeli bar, he graduated with honors from the Haifa University law faculty, and clerked in the Attorney General’s office. A winner of the British Foreign Office Chevening scholarship award, he took his master’s in international relations at Cambridge University, where he was also awarded his PhD in history. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of Beit Hafutsot, the Museum of the Jewish People.