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Thursday, March 21, 2013 

The opposition to Bar Refaeli taking part in a PR campaign: the rights and wrongs about it

The IDF staff is mad because the foreign ministry's hired supermodel Bar Refaeli for a PR campaign for Israel, because she'd dodged the draft, and, according to rabbi Shmuley Boteach, when talking about a crummy advertisement of hers broadcast during the Super Bowl, she later said, “I don't regret not enlisting, because it paid off big time. That's just the way it is, celebrities have other needs.”

Okay, that was a stupid thing to say, and she may have told it to GQ's Italian branch. If she'd said that she didn't feel she could handle the job well, that would have been a lot more honest and respectable. What I want to know now, is just where she stands politically today, because she made a morally equivalent statement a couple of months ago during the IDF's operation in Gaza, for which she was slammed. That's a legitimate argument to make about the color of her character, which sure doesn't seem very bright. Based on that, I can understand why the IDF is upset, so here's my query: has she changed since? It's uneasy to tell.

On the other hand, here's a most unsuitable reason to object to hiring her:
Haredi students objected on the basis that she does not represent the Israeli public because she had a high-profile relationship with the non-Jewish actor Leonardo DiCaprio.
What?!? Is this serious? That is a textbook example of how NOT to protest her employment, and smacks of racism, while at the same time hinting at the absurdly homogenous belief system the Haredis employ. Besides, what if DiCaprio agreed to convert to Judaism if they married? Leading a relationship with a non-Jew in itself isn't a problem, it's the color of character for both lady and gent in said relation that is. Besides, I have a cousin who married a woman of Irish-American background who'd converted to Judaism several years ago, and by leading the kind of protest those Haredi students are, they are in effect insulting my relatives in my extended family.

The question is just where does Refaeli stand on Israel's safety, for example, and whether she buys into the propaganda and lies that claim there was ever a "palestinian people" of Arabic/Islamic background, because Golda Meir didn't. She has voiced her support for Jonathan Pollard being released, so that's one plus. But she's still got a lot to clear up with the Israeli public, and I'd think it best she did so, and soon. As for those dumb Haredi students who have a problem with a Jewish woman having an affair with a non-Jewish man (and no doubt, even with a Jewish man having an affair with a non-Jewish woman), I'd suggest they clean up their act and focus on the real matters: does she respect her country in spite of not serving in the army, or has she changed her attitude since? That's what we need to know.

And the IDF might also want to consider that if they have a problem with someone like her evading the draft, they should also have one with Haredis who do the same, because I'm not so sure they ever made that argument like they should've.

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
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