Safran, Nadav 1925-2003

views updated

SAFRAN, Nadav 1925-2003


See index for CA sketch: Born August 25, 1925, in Cairo, Egypt; died of cancer July 5, 2003, in State College, PA. Educator and author. Safran was a professor of government at Harvard University and an expert on the Middle East. Although his family did not actively practice Judaism, Safran rediscovered his religious roots as a teenager and joined a kibbutz in what was then still Palestine in 1946. In 1948 he fought for Israel as a lieutenant in that country's war for independence. After the armistice was signed in 1949, he moved to the United States, earned a B.A. from Brandeis University in 1954 and a Ph.D. from Harvard 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. Safran eventually became director of the center, but had to resign in 1985 when it was discovered that he had accepted grant money from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) without properly informing the university. The scandal compromised the reputation of American learning institutions, as people in the Middle East came under the erroneous impression that U.S. schools were funded by the CIA. Despite the scandal, Safran remained respected by his colleagues, and he stayed at Harvard as a professor until his retirement in 2002. His writings about politics in the Middle East were highly regarded and include such books as Egypt in Search of Political Community (1961), Israel Today: A Profile (1965), Israel: The Embattled Ally (1981), and Saudi Arabia: The Ceaseless Quest for Security (1985), the last which he couathored with John C. Campbell.



Boston Globe, July 10, 2003, p. B7.

New York Times, July 27, 2003, p. A25.