The Jerusalem Post recently published its first annual list of the world’s 50 most influential Jews. On the list were a number of high profile Israeli and American politicians, philanthropists, media moguls and entertainment industry leaders.
Of course lists of this kind are far from accurate and are based largely on a common speculated consensus of a group of editors or a selected panel. However they certainly do give a basic indication of the playing field in the world of Jewish influence, and an insight into the activities some of these influential personalities.
It is interesting to note, that the list was noticeably lacking in rabbinic influence. Besides Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks of the British Commonwealth, no other clerical representative from Israel or the United States, the countries that house the world largest Jewish populations, appears on the list. Perhaps this should serve as a wakeup call to America’s Rabbis.
Either way, in the spirit of list making I ventured into creating a list of my own, not of Jews but of non- Jews, specifically those that are having the most positive influence in the shaping of the Jewish future.
Similar to the criteria used by the Jerusalem Post, I chose my candidates from all walks of life, a few hold positions of power or prestige, while others are prominent personalities who exert extraordinary positive influence on Israel and the Jewish world.
So here are the top 6:
1. Rupert Murdoch
CEO of News Corporation.
At an American Jewish Committee dinner honoring Murdoch he opened his acceptance speech by saying that,”over the years, some of my wildest critics seem to have assumed I am Jewish. At the same time, some of my closest friends wish I were. So tonight, let me set the record straight: I live in New York. I have a wife who craves Chinese food. And people I trust tell me I practically invented the word chutzpah.”
With Murdoch at the helm of News Corporation which owns numerous news media outlets including Fox News and the Wall Street Journal he continues to serve as a beacon in the media for fair and balanced treatment of Israel and related issues.
2. Manmohan Singh
Prime Minister of India.
Indian ties with Israel are now stronger than ever. India is the largest customer of Israeli military equipment and as of 2009, the military business between the two nations is worth around US$9 billion. India is also the second-largest economic partner of Israel and currently, the two nations are negotiating an extensive bilateral trade pact. Singh is largely responsible for cultivating and developing this crucial alliance that is vital to Israel’s economic stability and growth.
3. Senator Mitch McConnell
Kentucky Senator and Senate Minority Leader.
Since his entry to the senate in 1985, the most powerful Republican in the upper house, Mitch McConnell, has been a staunch ally and friend of Israel, continuously introducing and co-sponsoring bills that represent positions favorable to it.
4. John Hagee
Pastor CornerStone Church.
The sometimes controversial founder of Christians United for Israel has visited the country 22 times and has met with every Israeli prime minister since Menachem Begin. John Hagee Ministries has given more than $8.5 million to bring Jews from the former Soviet Union to Israel. In the face of many challenges facing the Jewish world Hagee’s work in actively promoting the Judeo Christian alliance has provided much welcomed friendly support.
5. Geert Wilders
If the troubled politician is cleared of charges in his ongoing lawsuit, he may emerge as the next Winston Churchill in Europe. Wilders stands at the forefront of the battle against Islamism and in gaining growing popularity amongst the Dutch population is slated to become the next Prime Minister of the Netherlands. His controversial 2008 film about Islam in Holland, Fitna, has received international attention.
6. Michael Gove
Secretary of State for Education.
Gove is a rising star in British politics and as a former editor for the London Times has shown his colors as a great friend of Israel and the Jewish community. In his new position, Gove could be instrumental in overhauling the British schooling system, positively effecting Jewish education in the UK.
The Author is the director of the Algemeiner Journal and the GJCF and can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org