Assaf Orion

Assaf Orion
Assaf Orion
Senior Research Fellow, Head of BDS and Delegitimisation program and Director of China program


Brigadier general (Res.) Assaf Orion joined the INSS in late 2015 as a senior research fellow, following 32 years of IDF service. He is currently directing the Institute's research program on Israel-China, heading the BDS and de-legitimization program, and participating in projects and programs on Syria and Israel-Palestinians. During 2018 he was a visiting military fellow in The Washington Institute for Near East Policy in Washington DC, later to become an international fellow. In his final posting in the IDF, Brig. Gen. Orion served as head of Strategic Division in the Planning Directorate in the IDF General Staff (2010-2015), responsible for strategic planning, policy formulation, international cooperation, military diplomacy and liaison to neighboring militaries and peacekeeping forces in the region. He headed the IDF team to the tripartite talks with UNIFIL and the Lebanese Armed Forces, led staff dialogs with foreign defense partners, took part in the US-Israel security dialogue, and represented the IDF in negotiations with the Palestinians. Prior to that he headed two departments in the Planning Directorate, following more than two decades in command and intelligence positions in Israel's National SIGINT Unit 8200 and Israel Defense Intelligence (IDI), in SIGINT, OSINT, and international intelligence cooperation. Brig. Gen. Orion holds a B.A. in Arabic language and literature and Middle Eastern history from Tel Aviv University (1992), and an M.A. from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University (2000), Israel’s IC senior inter-agency Intelligence course (1994) the IDF Advanced Course on Operational Art, and the International Intelligence Directors' Course (DISC) in Great Britain (2005). His fields of interest include national and regional security, applied strategy, strategic negotiation and cooperation, learning systems and adaptation challenges in complex and fast changing environments.

Research Fields

  • China and the Middle East
  • China-Israel relations
  • Israel: international stature
  • Leadership, Military leadership
  • Military strategy and doctrine


Panel Assessing the Deal of the Century
January 29, 2020
Israel’s Shifting Political Landscape and National Security
December 2, 2019
Panel – The Strategic State Effort
June 25, 2018
Possible Scenarios for Israel and the Palestinians and Discussion with the Researchers
March 26, 2018
What lies ahead for The Middle East? Strategic implications for Israel
January 30, 2018
What lies ahead for The Middle East? Strategic implications for Israel
January 30, 2018