Beautiful country

Israeli men remain enamored with homegrown beauties, a new survey finds.

miri bohadana 88 298 (photo credit: )
miri bohadana 88 298
(photo credit: )
Its citizens comprise barely a tenth of a percent of the world's population, but 30 of the planet's 100 sexiest women call Israel home. So says the December edition of Blazer, the Israeli men's magazine whose recent online survey tabulated roughly 90,000 votes in naming Oscar winner Angelina Jolie the sexiest woman of 2005. Despite giving top honors to the American Jolie, the poll suggests Israelis think quite highly of their own women, with Israeli models, actresses and singers comprising nearly one-third of those listed in the rankings. Ethiopian-born model Esti Mamo, a Vogue and Elle fashion plate, made the cut at #97, while Mili Avital, who achieved leading lady status in Hollywood with 1998's Kissing a Fool, ranks in at #84. Appearing at #44 is Jerusalem-born actress Natalie Portman, a grad student at Hebrew University last fall and an Oscar nominee earlier this year for her role in 2004's Closer. Two spots higher on the list is Becky Griffin, the former MTV Europe host who currently presides over the weekly countdown on Israel's Channel 24 music video network. Actress Moran Atias of 2005's Yamim Shel Ahava (Days of Love) falls just short of the Top 10, landing at #12 between actress Scarlett Johansson (#13) and recently retired Victoria's Secret model Tyra Banks. Singer Ninette Taib rockets almost to the top of this year's list at #4, having translated her victory on Kochav Nolad (A Star is Born) into a regular role on popular prime time soap opera HaShir Shelanu (Our Song). Model and TV actress Miri Bohadana claims the top Israeli spot on the list, defeating the likes of Halle Berry and Jennifer Lopez to be named runner-up on the list of the world's sexiest women. The former beauty pageant contestant earned sizable chunks of the vote in both the preliminary and final rounds of the poll, which provided the names of 200 international contenders for participants to choose before narrowing the competition to 100 finalists. Those not making the cut this year include perennial list-topper Britney Spears. Among Israelis, Mali Levy failed to appear on this year's list despite a hit new single, "Bye Bye," whose accompanying video features the singer and model in a number of revealing outfits and dance poses. Also omitted is Shiri Maimon, the blonde Kochav Nolad runner-up who's been a fixture on Israeli TV since placing fourth at this year's Eurovision song contest. A 28-year-old brunette from Sderot, Bohadana can thank her good looks and popularity with Israeli voters for her cover-girl status in this month's Blazer. Editors note that a number of other topics are dealt with in the magazine's current issue, including the political race between Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Labor party chief Amir Peretz. "Fair enough," they write, "but who would you go with on the cover?"