Ariel Merari is a retired professor at the Department of Psychology, Tel Aviv University. He received a B.A. degree in psychology and in economics from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of California, Berkeley.
Dr. Merari served as Chair of the Department of Psychology (1982-1985). During the period of 1978-1989 he was a Senior Fellow at the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, where he established and directed the Terrorism and Low Intensity Conflict Program. From 1989 until his retirement he was the Director of the Political Violence Research Unit at Tel Aviv University.
Dr. Merari has been a visiting professor at Berkeley and Harvard, and a Senior Fellow at the Kennedy School’s International Security Program of the Belfer Center. He has studied political terrorism and other forms of political violence for more than thirty years and has authored, co-authored or edited several books and many articles, monographs and chapters on these subjects. In addition to his academic work, he established Israel’s Hostage Negotiations and Crisis Management Unit and commanded it for more than 20 years, and in 2002 was appointed Chair of the Advisory Commission on Combating Terrorism at Israel’s National Security Council. He is the Scientific Director of an inter-services study of suicide terrorism, appointed jointly by Israel’s Minister of Defense and the Head of the National Security Council.
Dr. Merari has served as a consultant to various branches of several governments. In this capacity, he was a member of the Review Board of experts, appointed jointly by the U.S. Departments of Justice and Treasury to investigate the siege at Waco, Texas. He also chaired an international panel of experts, invited by the Congress of Argentina, to examine terrorist attacks, which took place in that country and recommend policy guidelines. He testified several times before U.S. congressional committees on terrorism-related issues, and served on DARPA’s Special Task Force on Terrorism and Deterrence after the September 11, 2001 attacks.