The Middle East-North Africa (MENA) is one of the official CORDEX domains, since it offers considerable challenges due to its large size, complex topography and great climate variability. Several modeling groups are currently perf01ming dynamical downscaling of eight CMIP5 GCMs, employing spatial resolution of 0.75°, 0.44° and 0.22°. In this study, the ca pabilities of the regional climate model COSMO-CLM in reproducing the main climate features of the MENA-CORDEX domain have been assessed. Two ERA-Interim driven simulat ions were performed, respectively at 0.44° and 0.22° spatial resolution for the period 1979-2011. Model configuration was chosen on the basis of a sensitivity study aimed to ascetiain model performances with respect to changes in physical and tuning parameters. Model response has been analyzed in terms of low-level circulation, 2-meter temperature, precipitation and cloud cover. Evaluation was conducted with respect to a combination of available ground obsetvations, satellite products and reanalysis, since wide areas are characterized by a scarce number of ga uge stations. Results reveal that the values of th ... mehre considered variables are generally in good agreement with observations, confirming that the albedo and aerosol parameterizati ons adopted lead to a remarkable improvement in model performances. Effects of increasing spatial resolution have also been investigated. Moreover, within a collaboration with the University of Tel Aviv, a high resolution simulation (0.0715°) has been performed over Israel, nested into the 0.22° simulation over MENA domain; results have been evaluated against an observational dataset provided by Israeli meteorological service.