Dr Nir Arielli

Dr Nir Arielli

Research interests

  • The human history of the Dead Sea and the Jordan River
  • The history of foreign war volunteering and foreign fighters
  • Transnational military mobilization from the French Revolution to the present
  • Pre-1948 Palestine and the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict
  • The foreign and colonial policies of Fascist Italy

Key Publications


From Byron to Bin Laden A History of Foreign War Volunteers (Harvard University Press, 2018)

Leah Trachtman-Palchan, Between Tel Aviv and Moscow A Life of Dissent and Exile in Mandate Palestine and the Soviet Union, edited by Nir Arielli (I. B. Tauris, 2015)

Nir Arielli and Bruce Collins, Transnational Soldiers: Foreign Military Enlistment in the Modern Era (Palgrave, 2012) 

Fascist Italy and the Middle East, 1933 - 40 (Palgrave, 2010)


‘Land, water and the changing Dead Sea environment: a microhistory of Kibbutz Ein Gedi’, Journal of Israeli History, 40.2 (2023), 235-256

Christopher Caden and Nir Arielli, ‘British Army and Palestine Police deserters and the Arab–Israeli War of 1948’, War in History, 28.1 (2021), 200-222

‘Colonial soldiers in Italian counter-insurgency operations in Libya, 1922-32’, British Journal for Military History, 1.2 (2015), 47-66

‘When are foreign volunteers useful? Israel's transnational soldiers in the war of 1948 re-examined’, Journal of Military History, 78.2 (2014), 703-724

‘In search for meaning: foreign volunteers in the Croatian armed forces, 1991 - 1995’, Contemporary European History, 21.1 (2012), 1-17

‘Induced to volunteer? The predicament of Jewish Communists in Palestine and the Spanish Civil War’, Journal of Contemporary History, 46.4 (2011)

‘“Haifa is still burning”: Italian, German and French air raids on Palestine during the Second World War’, Middle Eastern Studies, 46.3 (2010), 331-347

Current Research 

My current research project examines how the human history of the Dead Sea was shaped by the intricate relationship between geopolitical developments, shifting economic opportunities, and environmental changes. It explores how the same body of water was seen, understood and imagined in very different ways with the passage of time.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>

Research groups and institutes

  • Politics, Diplomacy, and International History
  • War Studies
  • Centre for Global Health Histories

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>