Barak and Netanyahu
Barak and NetanyahuIsrael news photo: Flash 90

Four Israelis made it this year to the prestigious “Top Thinkers” list published by Foreign Policy magazine. Among the top 100 thinkers in the international arena listed by the magazine for their political creativity and accomplishment are Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, both sharing 13th place, followed by former Mossad head Meir Dagan and former Shabak head Yuval Diskin, sharing 14th place.

The two “sets” of Israelis were chosen by the magazine based on their positions on the Iran issue. “Almost single-handedly, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak have wrenched the world's attention toward the apocalyptic potential of a nuclear Iran,” the magazine said. “Barak, once the standard-bearer of the Israeli left and an implacable foe of Netanyahu, has improbably become Bibi's closest ally in the effort to stop Tehran from going nuclear,” while Netanyahu “pressed Washington to define "red lines" that could provoke military action,” causing President Barack H. Obama to “rush to warn the Islamic Republic that 'time is not unlimited' for a peaceful resolution of the nuclear issue,” the magazine said.

Dagan and Diskin, meanwhile are at odds with Netanyahu and Barak on what to do about Iran, and it is for that dissent that the two follow Israel's Prime Minister and Defense Minister on the list. If Israel decides not to take action against Iran, it would likely “be the work of calculating former security officials like onetime intelligence chief Meir Dagan and internal security director Yuval Diskin, who have stepped into the public arena in unprecedented fashion to make a convincing, hard-nosed case that a strike would only make the Iranian threat greater.”

Diskin, adds the magazine, “has not only criticized a strike on Iran as unworkable, but has also called into question the capability of Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak to make the right decision,” recalling his comments that Netanyahu has a “messiah complex” and cannot be trusted to deal with Iran. Dagan and Diskin, said the magazine “are doing their best to help cooler heads prevail, reminding Israelis that not every problem can be solved by their impressive military.”

First on the list is shared by Burmese activist Aung San Suu Kyi and the new President of the country (formally called Myanmar) Thein Sein. The two, said the magazine, have complemented each other in efforts to bring democracy to the country.