Netanyahu on Time Magazine's List of 100 Most Influential People

Ehud Barak writes that the prime minister is 'pessimistic, passive and anxious,' but 'basically right about Iran and our risky neighborhood.'

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Kanye West on the cover of Time magazine: Netanyahu is also on the list.
Kanye West on the cover of Time magazine: Netanyahu is also on the list.Credit: Screenshot

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is included in the list of the world's 100 most influential people that was published by Time magazine on Thursday.

Interestingly, the piece about Netanyahu in the magazine was written by former prime minister Ehud Barak, a long-time associate of Netanyahu's in both military and political life.

Under the headline "Israel's survivor," Barak wrote: "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 Barak doesn't shrink from criticism of the prime minister. "Over time, while thoughtful and an avid reader of history, he developed a mind-set at once pessimistic, passive and anxious," Barak wrote. "Benjamin Netanyahu seems to avoid any initiative."

However, Barak doesn't agree with the common perception that Netanyahu's lack of initiative is all about staying in power. "I think he is more complex and nuanced," 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."

To leave his mark, Barak wrote, "Netanyahu must swiftly heal wounds opened by his campaign, mend the working relationship with President Obama, fight hard – mainly behind closed doors – for a tougher policy, and even, if needed, an attack against Iran and boldly engage the region’s moderates against terror, radicalism and Iranian hegemony. Daring actions are needed. Not just words."

Other prominent political figures on the Time list are United States President Barack Obama, Russian President Vladimir Putin, presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Pope Francis, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

But topping them all on the cover of time is singer Kanye West, who visited Israel this week with his partner Kim Kardashian, another listed personality. Jewish American Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg also makes the list, but Stanford academic Anat Admati, who was the only Israeli on the list last year, fails to make the cut.

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