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When it comes to women, Israeli men know what they want - and what they want, clearly, is Angelina Jolie.
For the fourth time in four years, the American movie star has topped Blazer magazine's list of the world's 100 sexiest women. The results, published in the current issue of the Israeli men's magazine, also indicate how attractive Israeli men find their female counterparts. (Pretty attractive.) Israeli women accounted for more than one-third of the spots in the survey - an impressive feat given that they comprise roughly one-tenth of 1 percent of the world's female population.
Though Jolie won the poll yet again, Israeli women packed themselves in near the top of Blazer's 2006 list, collecting the second-, third- and fourth-place slots and taking 11 of the top 25 spots in the annual ranking.
Claiming the poll's runner-up status for the first time was Israeli swimsuit model Bar Rafaeli, the newly annointed face of Samsung cellphones. The blue-eyed 21-year-old has found herself in increasingly high demand during the past year for overseas modeling work, her career no doubt boosted in part by her relationship with Hollywood A-lister Leonardo DiCaprio. Like DiCaprio, the 146,000 voters in the Blazer poll preferred Rafaeli to the Titanic star's ex, Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen, who fell 13 spots to 29th on this year's list.
Following Rafaeli in the Blazer ranking was model and actress Miri Bohadana, the magazine's runner-up a year ago and the current face of the Golbary clothing line. The 29-year-old Sderot native fell just short of second place, but the magazine helpfully notes that Bohadana, currently awaiting the birth of her first child, can take solace in having placed in the poll's top 10 in all four years of its existence.
Making the highest debut on Blazer's 2006 poll is professional ballroom dancer Anna Aronov, who cemented her place in Israeli pop culture in September with her breakdown on the season finale of hit reality series Dancing with the Stars. An immigrant to Israel from the former Soviet Union, the 24-year-old Aronov topped other members of the top 10 including actress Liv Tyler (#5), Lost in Translation star Scarlett Johansson (#6) and Sin City pin-up Jessica Alba (#8).
Rounding out the Blazer top 10 was Israeli model and actress Yael Goldman, who jumped 22 spots from last year's poll to overtake - almost - Italian screen goddess Monica Bellucci (#9).
Other Israeli veterans of the Blazer poll included models Galit Gutman (#18) and Esti Ginsburg (#21), as well as actresses Noa Tishby (#22), Yael Bar Zohar (#23) and Ayelet Zorer (#32). Model Moran Atias, a Haifa transplant to Milan, held steady this year at #12, while actress Agam Rodeberg, who's nearly done with her IDF service, beat Pamela Anderson by a spot to rank in at #52.
The nearly three dozen Israelis listed in the poll weren't the only Blazer honorees with connections to the country. Despite - or, more likely, because of - her appearance in the failed sequel to Basic Instinct earlier this year, actress Sharon Stone squeaked onto the list in 100th place, one spot below Kabbala enthusiast Madonna. The two women, both 48, have each traveled to Israel in recent years, with Madonna visiting Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Safed during the 2004 High Holidays and Stone spending several days in Israel in March as a guest of the Peres Center for Peace.
Ranking higher on the list was Black Eyed Peas singer Fergie (#81), who performed with her platinum-selling hip hop group in Tel Aviv in June, and actress Demi Moore (#71), whose husband, actor Ashton Kutcher, requested and received a lesson in Israeli history from Shimon Peres in October. (The former Israeli premier and the star of That 70s Show happened to be in Berlin at the same time.)
Actress Nicole Kidman, who lent her voice to the Simon Wiesenthal Center's 2006 documentary about its namesake, fell two spots on the list to #37. The Oscar winner made waves in her native Australia this summer by joining other Hollywood heavyweights in signing a petition in support of Israel's fight against Hizbullah and Hamas.
Finishing 2006 in the same position as the previous year was actress Uma Thurman, who spent four days in Israel in June for a friend's wedding.
Was Thurman disappointed not to place higher than 26th, just as she had a year ago? Not at all, according to Blazer's editors. "We spoke with her agent," the editors claim, next to a picture of the Kill Bill star in a low-cut dress. "She's not terribly upset."
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