Two Israelis make list of 'Top 100 Global Thinkers'

'Foreign Policy' magazine ranks Agassi in 28th place and Grossman in 89th place; Fayyad comes in 23rd, and Ahmet Davutoglu makes top 10.

November 28, 2010 13:11
2 minute read.
Better Place CEO Shai Agassi.

shai agassi_311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

Two Israelis made it onto Foreign Policy magazine’s second annual “Top 100 Global Thinkers” list, which offers a “portrait of 2010’s global marketplace of ideas and the thinkers who make them.”

In 28th place was Better Place CEO Shai Agassi, who Foreign Policy described as “an electric car prophet.” Renowned author David Grossman was the other Israeli to make the list, coming in at number 89.

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He was chosen by Foreign Policy “for using fiction to tell the truth about Israel’s open wounds.”

Agassi’s Better Place startup, which has been developing infrastructure for electric cars so they can be used by the masses, has pulled in more than $700 million in venture capital, with several countries around the world announcing plans to build his networks.

In response to Agassi asking: “How do you run an entire country without oil, with no new science... and in a time frame that’s fast enough to get off oil before we run out of planet?” Foreign Policy said, “His answer, and increasingly the world’s, is obvious.”

Commenting on Grossman’s vocal opposition to the Gaza flotilla raid in May and his participation in weekly protests against the eviction of Arabs in Sheikh Jarrah, where he had run-ins with police, Foreign Policy cited Grossman’s comment to the Guardian: “The great temptation is not to expose yourself to these atrocities. But if you do that, you’ve lost the war.”

Other notable Middle Eastern figures who were ranked by Foreign Policy were Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, who came in at 23rd place, and Egypt’s Mohamed ElBaradei, former director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), who came in at 20th place.

Highlighting Fayyad’s successful institution-building efforts in preparation for a future Palestinian state, the magazine said, “It may just be a soft-spoken technocrat who makes the revolutionary dream of an independent Palestine into a reality.”

ElBaradei, who was called a “democracy activist” by the magazine, was noted for his endeavors to unite Egypt’s opposition, and his criticism of the Egyptian political system “rigged to ensure the Mubarak family’s continued hold on power.”

Ranking highest from the region was Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who took 7th place “for being the brains behind Turkey’s global reawakening.”

Some noteworthy Jewish thinkers on the list included New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who was ranked 11th, economist Nouriel Roubini, who was ranked 12th, and New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, who was ranked 33rd.

US President Barack Obama, dubbed the “developed world’s most popular leader,” came in 3rd, while former US president Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tied in 13th place.

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