March 25, 2013
A new pro-Israel ad has sparked controversy, not for its subject matter but for the fact that Bar Rafaeli, the nation's hottest export, takes part in it.
The Israeli supermodel's latest public relations campaign sponsored her native country's Foreign Ministry did not sit well with the Israel Defense Forces.
The reason? Refaeli's evasion of the compulsory military draft, which has become a standard coming-of-age experience for 18-year-old Israelis.
Israel's Channel 2 News first reported the contents of a letter sent by spokesman Big. Gen. Yoav Mordechai to the Foreign Ministry Director.
The IDF called out "the choice of a representative who did not serve in the military as an official presenter on behalf of Israel" and for forgiving Bar.
Mordechai writes that the IDF has worked for years to "strengthen the value of IDF service, and to fight the phenomenon of enlistment evasion."
According to Israeli law, men are required to serve three years while women are required to serve two. Refaeli, however, found a construction loophole.
By marrying a family friend in 2007, she could continue her already-successful modeling career, which needless to say became even more successful indeed.
This hasn't sat so well with many Israelis. Nor is it the first time that Bar Rafaeli's military service has become a point of contention in her homeland.
When the blonde bombshell landed a lucrative campaign with Fox in 2008, a boycott was threatened, demanding that Refaeli complete her military service.
Critics were assuaged when the fashion company promised that the model would visit hospitalized IDF soldiers and encourage enlistment.
Then in 2010, Maj. Gen. Avi Zamir spoke out against the model during a speech at IDC when asked about Refaeli's lack of prominence in the country's PR activities.
Of course, rather than boost Israel's profile, the 27-year-old's appearance in the new campaign has only revisited the controversy over her "draft-dodging."
Refaeli acknowledged the controversy on Instagram, stating:
"You can use the clip for the Foreign Ministry or drop it, but my Instagram feed has more readers than Israel?s most popular newspaper [Yedioth Ahronoth]!?
Guess someone isn't feeling too guilty.
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