The 25 most influential people on ‘Jewish Twitter’

The 25 most influential people on ‘Jewish Twitter’

Clockwise, starting from top left, Benjamin Netanyahu, HAIM, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks and Lena Dunham. 
Clockwise, starting from top left, Benjamin Netanyahu, HAIM, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks and Lena Dunham. 

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:

1. William Daroff, The Jewish Federations of North America’s Washington office director, @Daroff
2. Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli prime minister, @netanyahu
3. Avi Mayer, Jewish Agency spokesman, @AviMayer
4. Danny Ayalon, former Israeli ambassador to the U.S., @DannyAyalon
5. Peter Lerner, Israel Defense Forces spokesman, @LTCPeterLerner
6. Jeffrey Goldberg, The Atlantic correspondent, @JeffreyGoldberg
7. Ron Dermer, Israeli ambassador to the U.S., @AmbDermer
8. Dan Shapiro, U.S. ambassador to Israel, @AmbShapiro
9. Rabbi Jason Miller, rabbi, entrepreneur and writer, @RabbiJason
10. Barak Ravid, Haaretz diplomatic correspondent, @BarakRavid
11. Esther Kustanowitz, editorial director of Mayim Bialik’s Grok Nation and L.A. Jewish Journal contributing writer, @EstherK
12. Avital Leibovich, American Jewish Committee in Israel director, @AvitalLeibovich
13. Lahav Harkov, The Jerusalem Post Knesset correspondent, @LahavHarkov
14. Michael Dickson, StandWithUs executive director, @michaeldickson
15. David Horovitz, The Times of Israel founding editor, @davidhorovitz
16. Arsen Ostrovsky, human rights lawyer and journalist, @Ostrov_A
17. Mark Regev, Israeli ambassador to the United Kingdom, @MarkRegevPMO
18. Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, rabbi, British lord and author, @rabbisacks
19. Shimon Peres, former Israeli president and prime minister, @PresidentPeres
20. Yair Rosenberg, Tablet magazine senior writer, @Yair_Rosenberg
21. Adam Milstein, Israeli real estate investor and philanthropist, @AdamMilstein
22. Reuven Rivlin, Israeli president, @PresidentRuvi
23. Khaled Abu Toameh, Arab-Israeli journalist, @KhaledAbuToameh
24. Peter Beinart, The Atlantic and National Journal contributor and Haaretz correspondent,@PeterBeinart
25. David Haivri, Israeli settler activist, @haivri

As for the top 5 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:

1. Bill Clinton, former U.S. president, @billclinton
2. Lena Dunham, actress, writer, producer and director, @lenadunham
3. Seth Rogen, actor and comedian, @Sethrogen
4. Matisyahu, musician, @matisyahu
5. David Cameron, British prime minister, @David_Cameron
6. Ben Carson, former Republican presidential candidate, @RealBenCarson
7. Dmitry Medvedev, Russian prime minister, @MedvedevRussiaE
8. Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli prime minister, @netanyahu
9. HAIM, rock band of three Jewish sisters, @HAIMtheband
10. Ezra Koenig, Vampire Weekend singer, @arzE
11. Ismail Haniyyeh, Hamas senior political leader, @IsmailHaniyyeh
12. Joseph Prince, Singapore’s New Creation Church senior pastor, @JosephPrince
13. Samantha Power, U.S. ambassador to the U.N., @AmbassadorPower
14. Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, prominent rabbi and author, @RabbiShmuley
15. Ravi Zacharias, evangelical Christian author, @RaviZacharias
16. Jean-Luc Trachsel, Swiss entrepreneur, @jltrachsel
17. John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the U.N., @AmbJohnBolton
18. Ben Shapiro, journalist, @benshapiro
19. Anne Bayefsky, human rights scholar and activist, @AnneBayefsky
20. Tarek Fatah, author and activist, @TarekFatah
21. Alon Ben-David, Israeli journalist, @alonbd
22. Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles mayor, @ericgarcetti
23. Judy Mozes, Israeli talk show host, @JudyMozes
24. Udi Segal, Israeli journalist, @usegal
25. Ayala Hasson, Israeli TV personality and journalist, @AyalaHasson

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that William Daroff was the only person to appear on both JTA’s lists of influential Jewish tweeters; Esther Kustanowitz also has that honor.

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