Don’t check The Jerusalem Post’s 50 Influential Jews Of 2017 to know which Jews are the most influential at present. Its yearly Rosh haShannah attempt to embarrass itself again reveals no such thing. It only exposes ignorance and close-mindedness of Israel’s leading English newspaper writers.
Most of the people on their list I have never heard of. And I follow the news every day. The ones on their list whom I know have hardly any influence. It’s all a sham. Even Bernie Sanders and Rabbis Sacks and Lopes Cardozo are absent. Maybe people bought their placement?
Now, let’s first define what is and isn’t influential.
Influential is not someone who’s a servant to someone in power. They can be replaced or resign in a second, losing all their “power.” Powerful really means: you are pivotal, pull the strings on a global or national scale. People look up to you and listen to you, no matter what you do or say. You’re a leader, adored or despised.
Next: it is crazy to only collect (nominal) Jews for such a list. Gentiles with a warm heart to Jews in general, should be admitted too. People who respect, honor and like Jews, who promote the interests of the Jewish People. Would we exclude such staunch allies, then the list becomes merely an attempt at ethnic pride – and a failed one at that.
Speaking of promotion of Jewish interests: anti-Zionist and otherwise anti-Semitic Jews on the other hand should be excluded. That leaves out powerful anti-Zionists Jews like ever-presidential-hopeful Bernie Sanders and making-anti-Zionism-look-kosher Haaretz editor-in-chief Aluf Benn.
The JPost doesn’t say so explicitly but seems to be interested only in people alive today. Let’s make that restriction too. The Jewish 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Jews of All Time has been done.
Now, that would make for an interesting list to read. Who should be on our list? I won’t try to be comprehensive. Just a few examples.
- Top of the list, hate-him-or-love-him, Donald Trump. His love and admiration for Jews is there for all to see. Surely, he uses Jews, because they’re so easy to work with (responsible, docile, honest) but he also has this irrational tender spot for Jews.
- Second place should be for Vladimir Putin, hate-him-or-love-him, who shares that same inexplicable warmth towards the Chosen People.
- With excuses to number three, who just happens to be less powerful than numbers one and two, we have the first Jew, hate-him-or-love-him, Benjamin Netanyahu. He’s even on the JPost list. Other Israeli leaders should be on our list too, like, love-them-or-hate-them, Bennett, Liberman, Lapid, Rivlin.
- Also Facebook boss, moral leader on wealth and supporter of medical research to end all illness, Mark Zuckerberg should be high on our list.
- Love-them-or-hate-them, but such a list must have our Gedoilim, the leading Chareidi Rabbis Chaim Kanievsky and Yosef Shalom Elyashiv. They are widely listened to, and to exclude them is to exclude yourself.
- A power player in any democratic state is the press and internationally powerful are international newspapers. David Horovitz, founder of the Times of Israel may represent a fine team of writers faithfully informing us around the clock what really is going on with Israel. Many journalists and commentators should be on such a list like Ilana Dayan. Possibly also people mostly known from TV but I don’t watch so I don’t know.
- We are a moral people and still listen to rabbis. Modern-Orthodox leaders should be mentioned too, like, love-them-or-hate-them, Rabbis Sacks, Riskin, Lopes Cardozo and Boteach.
- We must include Israel-promoters, love-them-or-hate-them, like Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, Abraham Foxman and Nathan Sharanski.
You get the gist. These 19 would not be amiss heading such a list true to its title. Surely, not many rich, female, non-white or young people. But the powers that be are unequally shared, also today. What do you want to be, politically correct and pretending or truthful? I’m with the latter.