Finance Minister Yair Lapid may have to wait until 2016 for another shot at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's seat, but he can boast a more modest victory right away: He has replaced Netanyahu as Israel's lone representative on Time Magazine's list of the world's 100 most influential people.
Last year Netanyahu, who also made the roster in 2011, was described as a "transformational leader." Then, in a six-page cover story in May, Time Managing Editor Rick Stengel dubbed Netanyahu "King Bibi." Netanyahu's kingdom seemed secure.
Until last year, Lapid, whose party came in second in the January election, was famous in Israel as a TV anchorman and newspaper columnist. Karl Vick, Time's Jerusalem bureau chief, writes that Lapid's "stunning" of the established parties and his experience as an author, playwright and actor help put him in position to take over from Netanyahu one day.
In 2011 and 2012, Netanyahu was praised largely for his international successes, but Vick lauds Lapid for introducing "new politics" to Israel's domestic landscape. Israel's champion of the middle class "already has the swagger" needed to replace Netanyahu, Vick says.
Time's list is divided into the categories Titans, Pioneers, Leaders, Icons and Artists. U.S. President Barack Obama makes his sixth straight appearance on the roster, while North Korean leader Kim Jong-un makes his third. Newly-chosen Pope Francis makes the list this year as well, a pope's first appearance since Francis' predecessor Benedict XVI appeared in 2007.
Next door, Time recognizes the man known as Egypt's Jon Stewart as a pioneer. "Bassem Youssef does my job in Egypt," Stewart writes for Time. "The only real difference between him and me is that he performs his satire in a country still testing the limits of its hard-earned freedom, where those who speak out against the powerful still have much to fear . I am an American satirist, and Bassem Youssef is my hero."
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now