Finance Minister Yair Lapid has been included on Time magazine’s annual list of the world’s 100 most influential people, replacing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as the representative of Israel’s zeitgeist.
For the first time in three years, Netanyahu was not included on the list.
In the April 29 issue of the weekly newsmagazine, released on Thursday, Time’s Jerusalem bureau chief Karl Vick lauded Israel’s television personality-turned-politician as a protest candidate who “campaigned on economic justice for a forgotten middle class” and “held true to a promise of ‘new politics,’ resisting Netanyahu’s blandishments and forging a government without Israel’s powerful religious parties.”
While the world generally views Israel in terms of the Palestinian conflict, Vick wrote, Lapid “personifies the nation’s determinedly inward focus.”
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.
Also making the list for the first time was Bassem Yousef, known as Egypt’s Jon Stewart, who recently ran afoul of the regime of President Mohammed Morsi for challenging his rule and criticizing the Muslim Brotherhood.
Calling Yousef his hero, Stewart wrote that “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.”
Time has made clear in the past that inclusion on the list is not necessarily an honor, but rather that the people are recognized as those who are changing the world — whether for good or for bad. As a result, many of those listed are controversial figures, including North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul and Wayne LaPierre, the chief executive of the National Rifle Association.
US President Barack Obama made the list for the seventh consecutive year and eighth time overall, while Vice President Joe Biden was named for the second time in three years.
Malala Yousafzai, the 15-year-old Pakistani schoolgirl and education activist who survived an assassination attempt by Taliban gunmen in October 2012, was also named to the 2013 list.
Stuart Winer contributed to this report.