World's most powerful: Netanyahu, Bloomberg, Zuckerberg

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg

The Israeli prime minister has been named the 24th most powerful person in the world by Forbes magazine.

Last year Benjamin Netanyahu was placed at number 46 but he has risen in influence because “as leader of an undeclared nuclear power, [he] remains the biggest menace to Iran's nuclear ambitions.”

However Mr Netanyahu, the only Israeli on the list, is considered one place less powerful than Jewish politician and New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, who came in at number 23.

Mr Bloomberg, the billionaire former Republican, fuelled speculation this week that he would run as an independent candidate for the US presidency in 2012.

He said: “A third-party candidate could run the government easier than a partisan political president because the partisan political president - yeah he's got half the votes, but he can't get the others.

“Whereas the guy in the middle may very well be able to get enough across the aisle.”

The chairman of the US Federal Reserve, former Princeton scholar Ben Shalom Bernanke, has the honour of being the highest ranked Jewish person on the list.

At number eight, he is just below world leaders including Barack Obama, David Cameron and the Pope.

The founders of Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, both 37, appear at join 22nd on the list. Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of Facebook and the subject of the hit Aaron Sorkin film The Social Network, is a new entry at number 40.

At number 57, Osama bin Laden is also on the list – however the Al Qaida leader has dropped in influence. In 2009 he was 20 places higher.

    Last updated: 12:48pm, November 4 2010