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A Decade Down the Road – The 25 most influential people on ‘Jewish Twitter’

By Gabe Friedman

(JTA) — Ten years ago this week, Twitter was born. Never ones to miss a good conversation, Jews quickly adopted the social network, and they haven’t stopped kibitzing since. To celebrate the birth of this post-modern Talmud, we’ve updated JTA’s 2009 list of the “100 Most Influential Jewish Twitterers” (which helped a young woman escape her family’s cult-like church, as recounted in the New Yorker. No big deal.)

Our new list — pared down to just the top 25 Twitter mavens — reflects a changed Jewish Twitter world. Among the rabbis, officials, journalists and other machers who made the cut in ‘09, the only carryovers are Esther Kustanowitz, a journalist who works with actress Mayim Bialik, and William Daroff, an American Jewish communal leader who now ranks No. 1.

But keep in mind, we changed our methodology.

Compared to 2009, we left more of the analysis to software and didn’t include entities (organizations, media outlets, etc.) on our list — just people. The data analysis was done by Little Bird, a Portland-based “influencer marketing platform” that helps firms reach the right tweeters in the right fields.

So how did we come up with the “Most Influential” list? Using the terms “Jewish” and “Israel,” Little Bird’s algorithm identified a network of 1,000 people who participate most in the Twitter discussion around Israel and Jewish issues. It then ranked those participants based on how many followers they have within the network.

As a bonus, we also generated a list of the 25 participants in the Jewish-Israel discussion who have the most followers overall — yielding some big Jewish names, like Lena Dunham, along with some surprising ones, among them ex-Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson. Call them Guest Stars.

Without further ado, then, here are the biggest influencers in the Jewish Twitterverse.

Most Influential:

William Daroff, The Jewish Federations of North America’s Washington office director, @Daroff

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli prime minister, @netanyahu

Avi Mayer, Jewish Agency spokesman, @AviMayer

Danny Ayalon, former Israeli ambassador to the U.S., @DannyAyalon

Peter Lerner, Israel Defense Forces spokesman, @LTCPeterLerner

Jeffrey Goldberg, The Atlantic correspondent, @JeffreyGoldberg

Ron Dermer, Israeli ambassador to the U.S., @AmbDermer

Dan Shapiro, U.S. ambassador to Israel, @AmbShapiro

Rabbi Jason Miller, rabbi, entrepreneur and writer, @RabbiJason

Barak Ravid, Haaretz diplomatic correspondent, @BarakRavid

Esther Kustanowitz, editorial director of Mayim Bialik’s Grok Nation and L.A. Jewish Journal contributing writer, @EstherK

Avital Leibovich, American Jewish Committee in Israel director, @AvitalLeibovich

Lahav Harkov, The Jerusalem Post Knesset correspondent, @LahavHarkov

Michael Dickson, StandWithUs executive director, @michaeldickson

David Horovitz, The Times of Israel founding editor, @davidhorovitz

Arsen Ostrovsky, human rights lawyer and journalist, @Ostrov_A

Mark Regev, Israeli ambassador to the United Kingdom, @MarkRegevPMO

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, former chief rabbi of Britain, British lord and author, @rabbisacks

Shimon Peres, former Israeli president and prime minister, @PresidentPeres

Yair Rosenberg, Tablet magazine senior writer, @Yair_Rosenberg

Adam Milstein, Israeli real estate investor and philanthropist, @AdamMilstein

Reuven Rivlin, Israeli president, @PresidentRuvi

Khaled Abu Toameh, Arab-Israeli journalist, @KhaledAbuToameh

Peter Beinart, The Atlantic and National Journal contributor and Haaretz correspondent, @PeterBeinart

David Haivri, Israeli settler activist, @haivri


As for the top five most influential entities, which also happen to top the overall rankings, here they are in descending order: The Jerusalem Post, the Israel Defense Forces spokesperson, Haaretz, the State of Israel and — wait for it — the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.


Guest Stars:

Bill Clinton, former U.S. president, @billclinton

Lena Dunham, actress, writer, producer and director, @lenadunham

Seth Rogen, actor and comedian, @Sethrogen

Matisyahu, musician, @matisyahu

David Cameron, British prime minister, @David_Cameron

Ben Carson, former Republican presidential candidate, @RealBenCarson

Dmitry Medvedev, Russian prime minister, @MedvedevRussiaE

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli prime minister, @netanyahu

HAIM, rock band of three Jewish sisters, @HAIMtheband

Ezra Koenig, Vampire Weekend singer, @arzE

Ismail Haniyyeh, Hamas senior political leader, @IsmailHaniyyeh

Joseph Prince, Singapore’s New Creation Church senior pastor, @JosephPrince

Samantha Power, U.S. ambassador to the U.N., @AmbassadorPower

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, prominent rabbi and author, @RabbiShmuley

Ravi Zacharias, evangelical Christian author, @RaviZacharias

Jean-Luc Trachsel, Swiss entrepreneur, @jltrachsel

John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the U.N., @AmbJohnBolton

Ben Shapiro, journalist, @benshapiro

Anne Bayefsky, human rights scholar and activist, @AnneBayefsky

Tarek Fatah, author and activist, @TarekFatah

Alon Ben-David, Israeli journalist, @alonbd

Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles mayor, @ericgarcetti

Judy Mozes, Israeli talk show host, @JudyMozes

Udi Segal, Israeli journalist, @usegal

Ayala Hasson, Israeli TV personality and journalist, @AyalaHasson

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