Benjamin Netanyahu listed in Time Magazine’s world’s ‘100 Most Influential People’

Former Israeli PM Ehud Barak authors Israel’s current Prime Minister’s short bio, where he challenges Netanyahu to attack Iran, if needed.


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was one of 13 world leaders to make it onto Time Magazine’s list of 100 most influential people, but was chastised on its pages by former defense minister Ehud Barak for not acting tough, particularly on Iran.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – Photo: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST

“Daring actions are needed. Not just words,” said Barak, who himself was prime minister from 1999-2001.

While he himself did not lead an attack against Iran, as defense minister under Netanyahu during his second term in office, Barak now said the Israeli leader must be ready to strike if necessary.

Netanyahu, Barak said, must have a policy that is tougher, “and even, if needed, [launch] an attack against Iran and boldly engage the region’s moderates against terror, radicalism and Iranian hegemony.

The Time’s list included some of the most powerful leaders in the world, such as US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

But the short descriptions of each person on list was often penned by their peers and was not always positive.

In Barak’s short description of Netanyahu, he urged the prime minister to do a better job on foreign policy by taking more initiative.

“I knew Bibi, decades ago, as a soldier and young officer under my command facing real fire. He was determined, effective and focused. Character does not change. Chickensh-t he is not. But over time, while thoughtful and an avid reader of history, he developed a mind-set at once pessimistic, passive and anxious. Benjamin Netanyahu seems to avoid any initiative,” Barak wrote.

“Netanyahu is basically right about Iran and our risky neighborhood. But he can fail to seize opportunities, and on the Palestinian question he grossly ignores the slippery slope awaiting Israel in the form of a one-state solution,” Barak wrote.

“To leave his mark Netanyahu must swiftly heal wounds opened by his campaign, mend the working relationship with President Obama, fight hard—mainly behind closed doors,” Barak said.

Although Barak added, “I personally know it’s not trivial to win office, simple to govern or easy to leave a positive imprint on history.”

Some of the other leaders on the list were Narendra Modi with Obama writing a few paragraphs about India’s new and increasingly popular prime minister.

“Like India, he transcends the ancient and the modern—a devotee of yoga who connects with Indian citizens on Twitter and imagines a “digital India,” Obama wrote said.

“When he came to Washington, Narendra and I visited the memorial to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We reflected on the teachings of King and Gandhi and how the diversity of backgrounds and faiths in our countries is a strength we have to protect. Prime Minister Modi recognizes that more than 1 billion Indians living and succeeding together can be an inspiring model for the world,” Obama wrote.

Other world leaders who made the list included German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Iraq’s prime minister Haider Al-Abadi, Indonesian President Joke Widodo and  King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud whose commentary was authored by King Abdullah of Jordan.

On a more expanded list of important people in leadership positions, ironically, was Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Zarif, who was described as the “happy face of Iran’s stern revolution.”

Robin Wright, a joint fellow at the US Institute of Peace and the Woodrow Wilson Center who wrote the short description of him said, “the world’s six major powers have courted him as they have no other foreign official.”

“Educated at two American universities, Zarif is well qualified to reconcile the revolutionaries and the world,” she wrote.

“In March, an Iranian poll picked Zarif as man of the year. When he returned from the talks, he was mobbed. After a deal, Zarif would be the natural go-to guy for broader détente with the world too,” Wright wrote.

Also on the more expanded list was Jeb Bush, a former Florida governor and son of former US president George Bush. He is considered a likely Republican presidential contender, but has not yet announced a run for the White House. Democratic presidential contender Hilary Clinton was also of the list.

Some of the world’s most hated figures made the list, such as Abubakar Shekau who heads the terrorist organization Boko Haram and one of its most revered figures, Pope Francis.

Separately among the known Jewish figures on the list was comedian Amy Schumer, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg and playwright Jill Soloway who created and directed the Amazon series Transparent.


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