Netanyahu makes Time Magazine’s list of '100 Most Influential People'

Ehud Barak authors PM's short bio, challenges him to attack Iran if needed.

By
April 16, 2015 21:51
3 minute read.
Benjamin Netanyahu

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu . (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

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

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

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

Time’s list includes 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 the list was often penned by their peers and were 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. ‘Chickenshit’ 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, and fight hard – mainly behind closed doors,” Barak said.

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

Another leader on the list is India’s new and increasingly popular Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with Obama writing his introduction. “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.

“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, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, Indonesian President Joke Widodo and Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, whose commentary was authored by King Abdullah of Jordan.

Another leader named 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 his short description, 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.

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

Among the Jewish figures on the list are comedian Amy Schumer, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg, and playwright Jill Soloway.


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