Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2019, which declared him Israel’s self-styled “indispensable man.”
“Israel is Bibi’s nation. Were there any doubt, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s election to a fifth term in April not only cemented his hold on the critical Mideast country, but also positioned him to surpass its founding leader, David Ben-Gurion, as Israel’s longest-serving Prime Minister,” it said.
“The reasons for his enduring appeal are clear,” Time columnist David French continued, touting Israel’s prosperity in the face of serious security threats.
“And as the election shows, sufficient numbers of Israelis believe not just that Netanyahu is partly responsible for that success but that he’s the nation’s indispensable man. And so he won again, in spite of facing serious allegations of corruption. Bibi certainly deserves his share of credit for Israel’s strength, but persuading Israelis that he alone could achieve it is his true political accomplishment,” he wrote.
The last time Netanyahu was named on the list was 2015, also an election year, in a post penned by former prime minister Ehud Barak.
In 2013, then-finance minister Yair Lapid was included on the list and Netanyahu was not.
It was the first time in three years that Netanyahu was not included on the list.
Also on the list were US President Donald Trump, community organizers Leah Greenberg and Ezra Levin, and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
The annual list is put together by editors of the magazine and includes political and cultural figures, without ranking their influence. The list includes 20 people from each of five categories: leaders, titans, artists, pioneers and icons.