Top 10 Non-Jews Positively Influencing the Jewish Future 2013

October 17, 2013 11:23 am 30 comments

Pope Francis I. Photo: Casa Rosada/Wikimedia Commons.

Since publishing my first annual list of non-Jews who have wielded significant positive influence over the Jewish future, it seems that the popularity of the practice of list-making has ballooned. It is my sincere hope, however, that this list merits special attention, both in the Jewish world and beyond, as the individuals who are featured herein are truly worthy of recognition.

A great deal has changed over the last year, and a number of previously unheard of personalities have emerged as great friends of the Jewish people, while others have become less active. For this reason, I am committed to compiling and developing this list as a regular endeavor, and as such I present the 4th annual lineup.

My candidates have been selected from around the world and include representatives of a number of different ethnic groups. The list includes political, religious, and business leaders among others, all of whom have had a significant, constructive impact on Israel and/or the global Jewish community.

Although by no means an exact science, my aim in this compilation is to provide some insight into the playing field of this unique group. Additionally, I aim to bring recognition to their often courageous, sometimes unacknowledged, activities on behalf of Israel and the Jewish people.

Of course I welcome your feedback on my selections, and your recommendations for next year’s list, in the comments section below.

Father Gabriel Nadaf, a Greek Orthodox priest from Nazareth and spiritual leader of a forum for the enlistment of Christian youth in the IDF, meeting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Photo: Prime Minister's Office of Communication.

Father Gabriel Nadaf, a Greek Orthodox priest from Nazareth and spiritual leader of a forum for the enlistment of Christian youth in the IDF, meeting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Photo: Prime Minister's Office of Communication.

10. Father Gabriel Naddaf

Hailing from the village of Yaffia, situated between Migdal Ha’emek and Nazareth, Naddaf is an Eastern Orthodox priest who has become a leader in the drive for Christian enlistment in the Israel Defense Forces.

Naddaf has undertaken this effort at great personal risk and has been subject to threats. Nevertheless, the movement has seen success, as Christian enlistment in the IDF tripled in 2013.

Describing him as “The Good Father” in a recent profile piece, the Jerusalem Post said that “Father Gabriel Naddaf has reached the conclusion that Christian Arabs residing in Israel must link their fortunes to the Jewish state.”

“Our goal is to guard the Holy Land and the State of Israel. We have broken the barrier of fear – the state deserves that we do our part in defending it,” he said, in a meeting earlier this year with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, who recognized his efforts.

John Chambers. Photo: Wikipedia.

9. John Chambers

Cisco CEO Chambers has jumped headfirst into the Israeli market. A regular visitor to the country, Israel became a strategic powerhouse for his company when it acquired NDS for $5 billion last year.

Six months after promising “You’ll see us expand here soon,” Cisco acquired Israeli company Intucell for $475 million.

Ahead of a recent visit, he said, “Israel is a global leader in innovation, and Cisco is proud of its longstanding commitment to the country.”

Chambers has even tried his hand at peace-making, and was featured in a July Forbes magazine cover story entitled “Peace Through Profits” advocating enhanced business co-operation between Israelis and Palestinian Arabs.

Strong statements of belief in Israel’s economic prowess from a global CEO like Chambers are vital for securing Israel’s continued fiscal resilience.

Li Ka-Shing. Photo: Wikipedia.

8. Li Ka-shing

Thought to be the richest person in Asia, Li has an estimated net worth of $28.8 billion. Last month his foundation announced a $130 million donation to Israel’s Technion University to build an academy as a joint venture with China’s Shantou University.

Technion President Peretz Lavie described the partnership as “a major breakthrough and an opportunity to strengthen ties between Israel and China.”

According to the Jerusalem Post, the grant includes profits from the foundation’s 2011 investment in Israeli mobile app Waze.

Petr Nečas.

7. Petr Nečas.

A week after the United Nations voted to upgrade the Palestinian Authority’s status last year, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu flew to the Czech Republic to thank Nečas, its Prime Minister at the time, for being the only country in Europe to vote against the move. “Thank you for your country’s opposition to the one-sided resolution at the United Nations; thank you for your friendship; thank you for your courage,” Netanyahu told Nečas.

Israel has “no better friends in Europe than the Czech Republic,” Netanyahu said during a visit to the country in 2012.

“We strictly refuse delegitimization and any boycott of the state of Israel. We unequivocally support Israel’s right to defend against terrorist attacks,” Necas said at the time.

Nečas is the most recent in a long line of Czech leaders committed to the Jewish state.

Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh. Photo: World Economic Forum.

6. Manmohan Singh

Trade and diplomatic relations between Israel and India have been on the fast track since the start of Singh’s premiership, and the two countries “are emerging as a mature, dependable, and accommodating couple,” according to a Middle East Forum paper.

In a recent visit to India to discuss a Free Trade Agreement between the two countries, Israel’s Economy Minister Naftali Bennett said that the bilateral trade (between India and Israel) “could easily be doubled in the next five years.”

Currently, Israel is India’s second largest supplier of military equipment, and India is the second-largest Asian economic partner of Israel. Trade between the two countries now stands at $5 billion, excluding defense contracts.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Photo: Jacques Grießmayer.

5. Angela Merkel

Recently re-elected with a powerful majority as Germany’s Chancellor, Merkel has been an outspoken supporter of Israel and has been vigilant in ensuring the security of Germany’s Jewish community.

Merkel offered strong support for circumcision shortly after a local district court ban on the practice. “I do not want Germany to be the only country in the world where Jews cannot practice their rituals. Otherwise we will become a laughing stock,” she was quoted as saying.

In August, Merkel became the first German leader to visit the Dachau concentration camp.

In her weekly podcast at the time, Merkel warned that Europeans must remain vigilant against Holocaust deniers and right-wing extremists. “We must never allow such ideas to have a place in our democratic Europe,” she said, adding that her trip to Dachau would be with “feelings of shame and dismay”.

Earlier this year, Germany delivered its fifth Dolphin-class nuclear capable submarine to Israel, showing its commitment to the Jewish state’s security needs.

Rupert Murdoch. Photo: wiki commons.

4. Rupert Murdoch

The titles owned by Murdoch’s News Corporation have, for the most part, covered stories relating to Jews and Israel in a balanced and fair manner, and Murdoch himself has described himself as an ardent philo-Semite.

Murdoch has been recognized by a number of major Jewish organizations, including the American Jewish Committee, the Anti Defamation League, and the Museum of Jewish Heritage .

“To my mind, that is the grand promise of Zionism: that Israel exists so that Jews can protect themselves,” he said last year, concluding, “I believe that it is no longer just Israel’s survival at stake but our own.”

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Photo: World Economic Forum via Wikimedia Commons.

3. Stephen Harper

As Prime Minister of Canada, Harper ensured that his country, along with the Czech Republic, would be among the few that opposed the Palestinian Authority’s unilateral UN move last year.

At a recent meeting in New York, Harper said that “There is nothing more short sighted in Western capitals in our time than the softening support for Israel,” according to a Wall Street Journal report. Israel, he said, “is the one strong stable democratic western ally that we have in” the Middle East.

Recent reports revealed that the Canadian arm of the Jewish National Fund is raising funds to build a bird center in Israel named for the leader.

“Under the direction of Prime Minister Harper, Canada is now a leader in the international fight against anti-Semitism and raising awareness of the heinous crimes of the Holocaust,” the organization wrote.

The new Pope Francis I lights a menorah while celebrating Hanukkah with Buenos Aires's Jewish community Dec., 2012. Photo: Youtube/Jewish News Oneh

2. Pope Francis I

Just seven months into the job, the new Pope has shown a warmth towards Jews and Judaism that is unparalleled.

“It’s a contradiction that a Christian is anti-Semitic: His roots are Jewish,” the Pontiff told an audience of Jewish leaders last week. Last month, in an open letter appearing in the Italian newspaper La Repubblica he praised the Jewish people for having “kept their faith in God” despite centuries of persecution.

Francis I has already scheduled a trip to Israel, and hosted his close friend, Argentinian Rabbi Abraham Skorka, at his residence over Sukkot. “He cares for me, and controls everything regarding my food to make sure it is all kosher, and according to my religious tradition,” the rabbi said of his friend the Pope.

General Abdul Fatah Khalil Al-Sisi. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

1. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi

A controversial figure to say the least, since El-Sisi , the commander of Egypt’s army, rose to power, co-operation between the country’s military and Israeli security forces in combating Sinai and Gaza based terror groups has been unprecedented.

“The Egyptian Army has done great things in the past two months, more than they had done in the past two decades,” an Israeli official told The Algemeiner last weekand a recent Wall Street Journal report detailed the extent of that co-operation.

According to reports, the Egyptian military has shut down up to 90% of smuggling tunnels running from the Sinai into the Hamas controlled Gaza strip, effectively cutting off a crucial supply route for weapons used by the terror group against Israel.

While under the leadership of his predecessor, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi, the cornerstone peace treaty between Israel and Egypt appeared to be under constant question, for now, El-Sisi’s rule has brought back Israeli confidence in its relationship with its southern neighbor.

For the Top 10 Non-Jews Positively Influencing the Jewish Future 2012 list please click here. For the 2011 list click here, and for the 2010 list click here.

The author is the Editor-in-Chief of The Algemeiner and director of the GJCF and can be e-mailed at defune@gjcf.com.

30 Comments

  • I’d try to make room for Pastor John Hagee – who started Christians United for Israel just 7 years ago. It’s now the largest pro-Zionist organization in America (about 1.4 million members) and growing. I’ve met him several times and know the organization well. We Jews have no better friends in the world.

  • It is inconceivable how any intelligent Jew could have voted for Obama? And twice yet! The only possibilty is that they still see FDR and JFK on the ballot and as a dyed-in-the- wool Democrat, it matters not who is running. While history has been very kind to FDR regarding his attitude toward Jews,
    One cannot forget his turnng away a shipload of Jewish refugees escaping the Nazis. We need all the friends we can get if Israel is to survive. I applaude the list of ten.

    • My uncle was on the St Louis that was not allowed to dock in NY or Havana where my Polish Jewish family had migrated.
      I am a registered democrat, voting only Republican for Reagan and glad I did. Did not vote for Obama either time. Agree with u that it is inconceivable that Jews not only voted for him 2x but are still mesmerized by the demagoguery.
      God help us all

  • Jo-Ann Silverstein

    What an incredible list. Thank G-d that Obama didn’t make your top ten list. What makes me angry is that 72% of U.S. Jews are on the dumb and dumber list. Kerry is a buffoon but Obama is downright dangerous..

    I pray that the media sees the “light” and broadcasts the truths in future newscasts. They are very biased in favour of Obama’s decisions toward Israel. CNN is one of the worst. Thanks for highlighting some good men who display courageous decisions toward Israel.

    • Juan-Claudio TAVIL

      Dear Madam…Eventhough not being am amrican citizen and not living in the US…I fully agree with your statement….It´s a real pitty Mr.Obama is acting , not clearly one way or the other….
      The US is such an important country with such a large jewish comunity, his President should act internationallywise, with mre strenght and character..Thanks for yr. attention…

    • dick E. Normus

      And you are an idiot. Best to keep you mouth shut

  • As non-Jewish Canadian whose parents grew up in Nazi Germany, I am so proud of prime minister Harper for standing up for Israel! Shalom Jerusalem, Shalom Israel!

    • Juan-Claudio TAVIL

      Yes indeed…Iam from Argentina, and proud of Canada´s role since a very long time ago..
      When integrating troops for the United Nations wherever needed, and not to forget the role of Canada on “D.day” 1941, worlddwar two….
      Thank you.

  • I don’t know the others well enough but certainly Mr. Harper doesn’t belong on this list. His policies are puppetry by Mr. Netanyahu – he announces things that come after the Israeli government declares. He withdrew aid to Egypt and then re-announced it after all the Israeli papers wrote that isolating the new Egyptian government would not be useful. Harper is a do nothing charlatan who claims a lot and gullible Jews believe whatever they want. Remember the adage – “the s–ts will get their comeuppance in the end”. Eventually Mr. Harper and Mr. Rob Ford will flounder.

    • Sly,

      Clearly you are blinded by left-wing politics and, as so many of your ilk, could care less about rampant anti-Semitism and anti-Israel vitriol sprouting everywhere. Prime Minister Harper has been fearless in speaking out against these dangers despite bigoted naysayers such as yourself. And what in the world does Rob Ford have to do with this? Sly, your leftist biases are showing…

  • Sure relations with India are improving but why Manmohan Singh? What has he done? I highly doubt that the strengthening of ties can be attributed to him. I haven’t heard him make a positive (or negative) comment on Jews or Israel. The party he belongs too – Congress, is a left leaning party which has generally been more supportive of the Palestinians. It was under BJP led government where Israel-India relations greatly improved.

  • All the unrest and happenings around the world is not a coincidence. President Roosevelt quoted: Nothing just happens in politics, if it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.
    Every action brings nations closer to the New World Order…time to think about giving up your country’s sovereignty to a dictatorial power.

  • I wished i could be a proud Canadian, Czech or any other citizenship listed above

    Shalom From France

  • I would like to see the list of non-Jews anti-Israeli, but more the Jews that are anti-Israeli.

  • For me Abdel Fatah el- Sisi is bandit, like previous Egyptian President Hossi Mubarack. He may be hanged very soon!

  • Shabbat Shalom from a non Jew!!
    Long Live Israel!! :-)

  • Thanks to the whole bunch. And yet… Pope Francis I? You mean the friendly chap who is busy giving help and positive exposure to Abbas?

    • Al –

      Yes, Pope Francis.

      He has been incredibly supportive and friendly toward Jews in Argentina, in Rome, and also in Israel. He has spoken out clearly and repeatedly against antisemitism. His vocal friendship with Jews gives Jews badly-needed support against the virulent antisemitism that still pervades many Catholic countries (Spain, Poland, Ireland and many Latin American countries).

      Absolutely, Pope Francis.

    • Bathsheva Gladstone

      And the very same who apparently is too busy to meet with Netanyahu…

  • Shalom Freedman

    This is a very interesting and informative list. It is important for the Jewish people and Israel to know that we are not alone in the world, but have many good friends.

  • WholeFoodsRepublican

    What no Obama?

    Can 78% of American Jews who voted for him be so wrong?

    Yes!!

    • An absolutely perfect response! “What, No Obama?”

      And of course there was, is, and will never be an Obama entry in this list.

      ZOA quote regarding Obama’s Cairo speech (at that time) : “Obama gives biased speech, inimical to Israel, supportive of false Palestinian/Arab claims – indicating he may become the most hostile President to Israel ever.”

      And that is what Obama has proven to be.

      And so he is.

      • Dont forget that other idiot, John Kerry, told the PA that the “settlements” are “Iligitimate”
        So, he gave Afarat in a suit, Abbas the upper hand.
        Why should Abbas agree to make peace, when he has Obama and Kerry on his side?

  • I am a Canadian and I am very proud of my Prime Minister Stephen Harper that he is 100% support of Israel. In fact he is being honoured at the Negev Evening in Toronto on December 1 for his support. G-d is blessing Canada because of him. Todah for placing him third on the list. A Canadian who supports Israel.

  • frightening that Jewry is so taken in and so concerned to please the powers that be. In this list the Pope is only superseded by a guy who offers a hugely current, direct, pragmatic benefit, and just to confirm this there is a picture of the Pope displayed front and center at the top of the article, as he indeed represents the greatest connotation when thinking of Gentile involvement in Israel.

    The Vatican is just one of many churches which embrace Replacement Theology, and have affirmed that “the Church is the new people of God”. This is in direct contravention of what Saint Paul, the Jew, wrote in Romans 9-11.

    The RCC has been the source of much oppression, has a fundamental role in many of the institutions which are against Israel, and was one of the primary actors in the sanitising and robbing of Jewish expression and love for the Jews innate to the New Covenant.

  • Ralph Friedland

    These people should be commended for their courage. They certainly show up the spineless behavior of other Western leaders.

  • Jeffrey Justin

    Well 9 out of 10 aint bad ! Mazel Tov . If we could just get Rupert to shut down( best option) or sell his stake in Rotana Television Then, maybe he should be on this list.

  • I pray that these non-Jews serve as good example of being pro-Jewish and favorable toward Israel. We need more World Leaders like them, and hopefully someday the UN will reverse it’s acceptance of the Palestinian “State”.

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