Isabella Ginor

Dr. Isabella Ginor

Associate Fellow
Isabella Ginor

Isabella Ginor was born in Ukraine (then USSR), 1948 and since 1967 has resided in Israel, where she completed her studies at Tel Aviv University (DMD, 1982)In 2001, she was appointed a Associate Fellow of the Truman Institute (through 2007, reappointed as of 2009). Here she launched an innovative research project on the USSR’s military involvement in the Arab-Israeli conflict. In recognition of her findings, she was awarded the Aharon Yariv Memorial Prize for 2004 by Israel's Intelligence Heritage Center.  The book she co-authored with Gideon Remez, Foxbats over Dimona, won the Silver Medal in the inaugural award of the new Book Prize of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and was listed by Foreign Affairs among five "books of the year" in military history  (2008).

This research draws on her experience from her work since 1968 as a writer and specialist on the Soviet Union and its successor republics for the Israeli newspapers Al HaMishmar, HaAretz and Yediot Ahronot, as well as Israel Radio and foreign media. She has presented papers at conferences hosted by the Wilson Center’s Cold War History Project (DC), The Cold War Studies Centre at the London School of Economics, The Association for Study of the Middle East and Africa, the US State Department, the World Congress of Middle Eastern Studies, the Nordic Conference on Middle Eastern Studies, the US Association for Israel Studies,the British Academy, the Polish Institute of National Remembrance, and numerous universities in the United States and Europe.

Dr. Ginor is a frequent guest commentator on Israeli and foreign broadcast media and has been an Israel correspondent for the Russian-language broadcasts of the BBC World Service, Radio France International and the Australian SBS network, as well as the Moscow newspaper Vremya Novostey. Her short story collection Metaphor (1989) won prizes from the Jerusalem Foundation and the City of Holon, and she was Visiting Author at the Oxford University Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies in 1993.

Academic publications:

  • “The Russians Were Coming: The Soviet Military Threat in the 1967 Six-Day War,” Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA)  4:4 (2000) .
  •  “Can the Democrats Survive in Russia? Lessons of 1999,” The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review 27:1 (2000)
  • “’Under the Yellow Arab Helmet Gleamed Blue Russian Eyes': Operation Kavkaz and the War of Attrition,” Cold War History 3:1 (2002)
  • “’Shestidnevnaya Voyna’ 1967g. i pozitsiya SSSR” (Russian: The Six-Day War and the USSR’s Position), SShA-Kanada (Moscow: Academy of Sciences and USA-Canada Institute), #12 (396), December 2002.
  •  “The Cold War’s Longest Cover-up: How and Why the USSR Instigated the 1967 War,”  MERIA  7:3  (2003) ; reprinted in Ahron Bregman (ed.), Warfare in the Middle East since 1945. London: Ashgate (International Library of Essays on Military History), 2008, pp. 27-52. 

(Co-authored with Gideon Remez)


  • Foxbats over Dimona: The Soviets' Nuclear Gamble in the Six-Day War (Yale University Press, 2007); Silver Medal, Book Prize of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and a Book of the Year in military history, Foreign Affairs journal, 2008.
  • The Soviet-Israeli War, 1967-1973: The USSR’s Military Intervention in the Egyptian-Israeli Conflict (forthcoming from Hurst (UK) and Oxford University Press (USA), June 2016.

Book chapters:

  • "The Origins of a Misnomer: The 'Expulsion of Soviet Advisers' from Egypt in 1972," in Nigel Ashton (ed.), The Cold War in the Middle East: Regional Conflict and the Superpowers 1967-73, London: Routledge-LSE,  2007.
  • “The USSR Sets Precedents: Military Involvement and Nuclear Threat in the 1956 Crisis” (Hebrew).  Paper presented in a conference at Haifa University, November 2006, forthcoming in a book of the proceedings.
  • "The Middle Eastern test of Detente: The USSR’s direct role in the Yom Kippur War, 1973," in Antonio Varsori et al., eds., Détente in Cold War Europe: Politics and Diplomacy in the Mediterranean and the Middle East .London: I.B. Tauris, 2016.
  • “Israel’s Best Spy or a Master Double Agent? New Light from the Soviet Angle on the Mystery of Ashraf  Marwan” (paper presented at a conference in Greifswald University, Germany, 2015), forthcoming in Need to Know: The Human Element, University of Southern Denmark Press, 2016.
  • “The KGB’s Abduction Program and the PFLP: New Evidence,” paper presented in a conference at the Institute of Graduate Studies, Geneva, April 2015; forthcoming in  States and Terrorism in the Cold War: Myth and Reality,  Washington:  International Center for Terrorism Studies, 2017

Scholarly-journal papers:

  • "Un-Finnished Business: Archival Evidence Exposes the Diplomatic Aspect of the USSR's Pre-Planning for the Six-Day War," Cold War History 6:3 (2006).
  • "The Spymaster, the Communist, and Foxbats over Dimona:  The Motive for the USSR's Instigation of the Six-Day War," Israel Studies 11:2 (2006).
  • "The Six-Day War as a Soviet Initiative: New Evidence and Methodological Issues," MERIA 12:3 (2008)
  • "The Tyranny of Vested-Interest Sources: Shaping the Record of Soviet Intervention in the Egyptian-Israeli Conflict, 1967–1973," Journal of the Middle East and Africa 1:1 (2010).
  • "A Cold War Casualty in Jerusalem, 1948: The Assassination of Witold Hulanicki," Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs 4:3 (2010).
  • “Too Little, Too Late: The CIA and US Counteraction of the Soviet Initiative in the Six-Day War,” paper presented at NSA Cryptological conference, 2009; Intelligence and National Security 26:2-3 (2011); Honorable mention, Virginia Military Institute Cold War Essay Competition, 2010.
  • "Her Son, the Atomic Scientist: Mirra Birens, Yuli Khariton and Max Eitingon's Services for the Soviets," Journal of Modern Jewish Studies, 11:1 (2012).
  • “Gipotezy stanovyatsya vyvodami: novoye o Makse Eitingone i ego svyazyakh s Sovetskim Soyuzom,” (Russian: “Hypotheses Become Conclusions: New Findings about Max Eitingon and his Links with the Soviet Union”), Neprikosnovenny Zapas (Moscow), #91, May 2013.   
  • “’Meine Mirra, meine Welt’: Mirra Birens-Eitingon als Schlüssel zur Persönlichkeit ihres Mannes Max Eitingon” (German: “’My Mirra, my World’: Mirra Birens-Eitingon as a Key to Her Husband Max Eitingon’s Persona,” Luzifer-Amor (Berlin) 28:1 (2015).
  • "Veterans’ Memoirs as a Source for the USSR’s Intervention in the Arab-Israeli Conflict: The Fluctuations in Their Appearance and Character With Political Change in Post-Soviet Russia," combining presentations made at two international conferences in 2014: "Looking at Then, Now" at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and "Cold War Narratives" at the University of Lausanne. Slavic Military Studies 29:2 (2016).
  • “The KGB’s Abduction Program and the PFLP:  On the Cusp between Intelligence and Terrorism,” paper presented in a conference at the Institute of Graduate Studies, Geneva, April 2015; forthcoming in Terrorism: An Electronic Journal and Knowledge Base 6:1 (2017).

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