As No. 23 prepares to meet No. 2 in Berlin Thursday, he would do well to remember that the eyes of the world are on him, and if he wants No. 1 to help him counter the threats of annihilation repeatedly uttered by No. 21, he should not antagonize Nos. 3, 7, 10, 14 and 30 by appearing too defiant. At least he can rest assured in the knowledge that as members of the tribe, Nos. 6, 16, 20, 25, 51 and 71 have got his back.
In case that wasn’t clear, Forbes Magazine published its annual list of The World’s Most Powerful People on Wednesday. The only Israeli to make the cut was Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who came in at No. 23 out of 71.
The magazine said that Netanyahu’s placement on the list was due to him being “the leader of one of the world’s most religiously and geopolitically fraught nations” and a “central player in nearly every Middle Eastern crisis.”
The fact that Israel is widely believed to possess nuclear weapons, along with its deployment of the Iron Dome missile defense system — which “proved highly effective in 2012, intercepting more than 400 rockets fired from Gaza over the course of the year” — apparently added to his weight.
Netanyahu has appeared on every iteration of the World’s Most Powerful People list since its initial publication in 2009. Starting out at No. 46, Netanyahu made a leap in 2010, jumping 22 places to reach No. 24. Since then he has essentially plateaued, dropping to No. 25 in 2011 and rising two places this year.
US President Barack Obama retained his first-place ranking from last year after winning reelection in a hard-fought contest with GOP candidate Mitt Romney (who doesn’t appear in the ranking).
German Chancellor Angela Merkel was ranked second, climbing two spots from last year’s list and taking the place of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who dropped to third. Rounding up the top five are Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Pope Benedict XVI.
The other highest-ranked Middle East leader on the list is Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, No. 7. Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the power to ignite a regional war if his country pushes ahead with its nuclear program, ranked 21st. United Arab Emirates President Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan ranked No. 33, apparently for having the deepest pockets in the region.
The highest-ranked Jew on the list is US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke at No. 6. The man whom Forbes describes as the American economy’s “adult in the room” has been among the top 10 since 2009.
Other Jews appearing on the list are New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, No. 16; Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, jointly No. 20; Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, No. 25; bond market guru Bill Gross, No. 51; and Linkedin co-founder Reid Hoffman, No. 45.
According to Forbes’s editors, four dimensions were taken into account when compiling the list: the number of people over whom the candidate has power, financial resources he or she controls, having power in multiple spheres, and active use of that power.