'Netanyahu among world's most influential people'

PM cracks 'TIME' list of top-100 most influential people for 2nd year in a row, credited with drawing attention to Iran threat.

April 18, 2012 21:18
2 minute read.
Israeli PM Netanyahu TIME magazine

Netanyahu TIME magazine 370. (photo credit: Screenshot)


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Time magazine named Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Wednesday to its list of the 100 most influential people in the world for the second year in a row.

This is the first time an Israeli leader has appeared on the list twice since it was initiated in 2004. In addition to Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman made the list in 2009, Ehud Olmert in 2006 when he was prime minister and Ariel Sharon in 2005 when he was leading the country.

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Each entry in the magazine is accompanied by a short blurb, with US House Majority Leader Eric Cantor doing the honors for Netanyahu.

Cantor called Netanyahu “among the world’s great leaders,” and described him as an “iconic” Israeli, “a strong, determined leader who has excelled during a lifetime of service to the State of Israel.”

At a time of “tremendous international instability and growing danger,” Cantor said Netanyahu “provided a compelling and reasoned exposition of one of the gravest threats facing the world today. He deserves credit for drawing attention to the threat Iran poses to Israel, to America, to the region, to its own people and to the free world. Confronting Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and sponsorship of terrorism is an urgent task for all of us. At this perilous moment, Prime Minister Netanyahu is the right leader for Israel – and the right partner for America.”

Cantor, in his comments, did not mention the Palestinians at all, indicative of the degree to which that issue has faded from the world’s attention. Last year, when Richard Haas, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, wrote about Netanyahu, the Palestinian issue was dominant.

In a far less glowing account then Cantor’s, Haas, whose name has been whispered as a possible secretary of state if Mitt Romney wins the presidency in November, wrote that “most of the world views Israel as the principal obstacle to Middle East peace.”

“Pressure is growing on Israel to compromise, but it is difficult to imagine worse timing given the upheavals on its borders, Hamas entrenched in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon. Making things harder is that Bibi, 61, heads an unwieldy coalition government designed more for domestic politics than diplomacy,” Haas wrote at the time.

Other world leaders on the list include: Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Deputy Prime Minister for the Economy Ali Babacan; China’s incoming president Xi Jinping; US President Barack Obama; Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan; US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei; Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos; Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff; German Chancellor Angela Merkel; Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti; Myanmar President U Thein Sein; and Qatar Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al- Thani.

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