‘Person of the Decade’

Haaretz is inviting readers to select a Person of the Decade, with the option of choosing up to five people who “have had the most impact on Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world in the past 10 years.”

Astonishingly, Yasser Arafat is not among the options(!), although other big-time Bad Guys like Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hizbullah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, and even relatively insignificant people like Omri Casspi, the Israeli rookie sensation of the NBA, and Anti-Defamation League director Abe Foxman, are included on the list.

I don’t see how you could choose anyone other than Osama bin Laden for the Person of the Decade, given his direct impact on the course of the decade’s history and the scope of the effects of his actions and words across the globe. There really isn’t anyone who comes close.

Where Israel is concerned, it seems to me that Ariel Sharon is a slam dunk for the “award”. He may have spent the past four years in a coma, but his influence on the past decade is unparalleled… which is not to say unblemished. Again, there really isn’t anyone who comes close.

…Although I might give honorable mention to the folks behind the birthright-taglit program, which has succeeded in making Israel (and, to a great extent, Jewishness) relevant for a huge portion of young Jews  in North America. Given the direction that that particular demographic was (is?) heading, that’s no small feat.

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