Bar Refaeli has a controversy on her hands after her home nation of Israel picked her for to be the focus of a public relations campaign, renewing cries that she actually dodged the draft there.
Refaeli was picked this week by Israel’s foreign ministry to lead a public relations campaign about the nation’s emerging technologies. The ministry was banking on the appeal of the international supermodel, but instead put Bar Refaeli into a controversy.
The Israeli army immediately attacked the idea of the 27-year-old Sports Illustrated cover girl serving as a representative to Israel, saying instead that she’s a bad example to Israeli youth.
Israel has cumpulsory conscription for three years for men and two years for women, though about half of women and one-third of men don’t serve, mostly for religious or medical reasons.
Bar Refaeli said serving would hurt her career, then got married to use that as an excuse to avoid serving. As soon as her exemption was approved Refaeli got divorced, leading to criticism that she was gaming the system.
That was at the heart of the army’s opposition to Refaeli serving as a spokeswoman for the nation.
“I wish to turn your attention to the negative message that could be delivered to Israeli society,” an army spokesman wrote to the foreign ministry.
The foreign ministry didn’t see it the same way, replying: “Bar Refaeli … is considered one of the most beautiful women in the world and she is widely recognized as Israeli. There is no reason to dredge up the past when we are dealing with a public diplomacy campaign of this kind.”
Bar Refaeli didn’t seem fazed by the controversy, tweeting: “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 [Yedioth Ahronoth]!”
[Image via Joe Seer / Shutterstock.com}