The Foreign Ministry intends to go ahead with a two-minute promotional video
that includes a cameo appearance by supermodel Bar Refaeli, despite IDF
objections that she not be featured in a clip promoting Israel since she did not
serve in the IDF.
“She does not represent Israel in the video,” Foreign
Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said, adding that she just appears as another
one of those ubiquitous items – like a computer chip – that is made in
“We are not in the business of boycotting people; we fight
boycotts,” Palmor said of the brouhaha involving Refaeli. “We certainly don’t
boycott someone who volunteered to appear.”
Yoav Mordechai wrote a letter to the ministry protesting
Refaeli’s appearance in the video because she did not serve in military or
national service. Refaeli skirted IDF service in 2003 by marrying a family
acquaintance, whom she divorced a short while later.
“I wanted to direct
your attention to the negative message this sends to Israeli society by the use
of Bar Refaeli, who did not serve in the IDF, as an official representative of
Israel in a campaign abroad,” Mordechai wrote.
“In recent years, the IDF
has been trying a variety of methods to improve the value of military service
and to combat draft evasion in order to preserve the moral dimension whereby the
IDF is the people’s army.”
According to Mordechai, using her in the video
demonstrated a lenient and forgiving approach to not serving in the
Palmor said that the video, which is still being produced and will
be uploaded on YouTube, is meant to draw people’s attention to the fact that
many things they come into contact with on a daily basis are from
The clip features a man who eats a salad with cherry tomatoes
from Israel, and then sends a text message using technology developed in Israel.
At the end of the clip, he turns to his girlfriend, who turns out to be
The supermodel referenced the controversy in a tweet on her
Twitter account, which has 443,042 followers, writing in Hebrew, “Use the
Foreign Ministry clip or not. My Instagram has more readers than the newspaper
of the country [a reference to Yediot Aharonot]. I will continue to
She then posted a link to a photo of a poster calling for US
President Barack Obama to free jailed Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard.