Bar Refaeli has covered Sports Illustrated, fronted a campaign for Garnier, and modelled athletic wear for Gap, but is she the right model for her latest campaign? The Israeli model has been cast in a PR campaign for her homeland’s military, despite having skipped her two years of mandatory service.
An Israel Defence Forces’ General wrote a scathing public letter to the Foreign Ministry Director, criticizing the use of the bikini model, who is now 27. Yoav Mordechai wrote that the Refaeli campaign, which is still in development, “conveys the message that we ignore and forgive evasion of enlistment.”
At the age of 18, when Israeli citizens are expected to enlist in the military, Refaeli was pursuing her modelling career. Women are exempt from the army if they are married or have children, and so at the age of 22, she married a family friend, whom she divorced soon afterwards.
In a statement, her rep told the Times of Israel, “Refaeli is considered one of the most beautiful women in the world and is widely recognized as an Israeli. There is no reason to bring up the past when it comes to a campaign of public diplomacy of this kind.” No reason at all! What does not serving in the military have to do with a campaign to support the military? There really is no connection I can see.
Refaeli herself is even less apologetic. “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!” she wrote. So, that’s a nice relatable thing to say. As if Israel doesn’t have enough problems without having to deal with Bar Refaeli as well.