Israel’s Bennett, Sheikh Jarrah twins make TIME 100 list

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and two Palestinian sibling activists from the contested Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood have made TIME Magazine’s annual list of the world’s 100 most influential people. 

Bennett, an ultraconservative who opposes Palestinian statehood, ended Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s 12-year tenure in June. To unseat Netanyahu, Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid assembled a diverse coalition government that included Ra’am, the first Arab party to join an Israeli government. 

Ra’am head Mansour Abbas, who Bennett once described as a “supporter of terrorism,” wrote a glowing profile of Bennett for the TIME list. 

“After four elections in two years, a bold act was needed to unite a country frayed by political stalemate and brought to a desperate standstill,” Abbas said. “Something dramatic needed to change, but more importantly, someone courageous needed to make that change.”

Other world leaders on the list included US President Joe Biden, Chinese President Xi Jinping and new Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. Taliban co-founder and acting Deputy Prime Minister of Afghanistan Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar also made the cut. 

The list included a number of activists, including Muna and Mohammed al-Kurd. The 23-year-old twins ​became the faces of a campaign to stop the forced displacement of Palestinian families who have lived for generations in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. Protests over potential evictions in the predominantly Palestinian neighborhood helped trigger the latest round of Israel-Hamas violence in May. 

The siblings, who were briefly detained by Israeli authorities this summer, “challenged existing narratives about Palestinian resistance through viral posts and interviews, humanizing the experiences of their neighbors and pushing back against suggestions that violence was being predominantly carried out by Palestinians,” read the magazine. 

This year’s TIME list also featured Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, who in 2019 was sentenced to 30 years in prison for offenses related to her work, which included defending Iranian women arrested for taking off their hijabs. 

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