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Israel cracks US magazine’s ‘Great Powers’ list

The American Interest attributes Jewish state’s growing stature to its technological ingenuity, regional influence and smart diplomacy; ranks it No. 8, one below Iran

Israeli flags stand next to the menorah, the symbol of the State of Israel, at the Knesset (photo credit: Nati Shohat/FLASH90)
Israeli flags stand next to the menorah, the symbol of the State of Israel, at the Knesset (photo credit: Nati Shohat/FLASH90)

Israel made it onto an influential conservative magazine’s list of the top eight “Great Powers” worldwide in 2017, with the publication declaring the Jewish State a “rising power with a growing impact on world affairs.”

The American Interest credited Israel’s economic prowess, ability to navigate regional turbulence and “diplomatic ingenuity” in placing it alongside the US, Russia, Germany and China.

“India, China and Russia all want a piece of Israeli tech wizardry,” the article’s authors noted, adding that gas fields found in the Mediterranean had the potential to turn it into an energy player, which could “boost Israel’s foreign policy clout.”

Israel was also praised for its ability to take advantage of a changing balance of power in the region to turn itself “from a pariah state to a kingmaker,” citing its alliance with a number of Sunni states that have common enemies.

And despite coming under censure from the UN Security Council over settlement building and frosty ties between Jerusalem and the White House during Barack Obama’s time in office, the magazine saw Israel expanding its diplomatic footprint around the world.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin at Netanyahu's residence in Jerusalem on June 25, 2012. (Kobi Gideon/GPO/FLASH90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin at Netanyahu’s residence in Jerusalem on June 25, 2012. (Kobi Gideon/GPO/FLASH90)

While restarting ties with Turkey and keeping ties with Russia warm, it also strengthened bonds with India, reached “diplomatic breakthroughs” with a number of previously hostile African states and established “behind-the-scenes” ties with a number of Arab countries, some of whom Israel has no formal relations with.

The article predicted Israel would spend 2017 as “the keystone of a regional anti-Iran alliance, a most-favored-nation in the White House, and a country that enjoys good relations with all of the world’s major powers bar Iran.”

One place ahead of eighth-placed Israel on the American Interest list was Iran, which has continued to insert itself forcefully in the region, thanks to unrest in Syria and Yemen and the nuclear deal.

“High-profile deals with Boeing and Airbus sent the message that Iran was open for business, while Tehran rapidly ramped up its oil output to pre-sanctions levels,” the magazine wrote.

The other countries to make The American Interest’s list of eight great powers list were, in order, the US, China and Japan tied at number two, Russia, Germany and India.

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