'IDF against use of Bar Refaeli in gov't campaign'

Army complains to Foreign Ministry that use of draft-dodging supermodel in hasbara campaign sends wrong message to youth.

March 18, 2013 10:43
2 minute read.
Bar Refaeli

Bar Refaeli311. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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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 Israel.

“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.”

IDF spokesman Brig.-Gen.

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 army.

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 Israel.

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 Refaeli.

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 focus.”

She then posted a link to a photo of a poster calling for US President Barack Obama to free jailed Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard.

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