Bintel Blog

Israel's Public Relations, Offensive

By Daniel Treiman

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Maxim Invite

Israel needs allies — and it will take them where it can get them. Occasionally this has meant embracing some dubious characters. Sometimes these alliances come back to bite the Israeli government in the rear end. And that’s exactly what has happened with Israel’s latest such ally: Maxim magazine.

In its upcoming July issue, the bawdy lad-mag is running a racy pictorial spread devoted to the “Women of the Israeli Defense Forces.” Invitations to a celebratory bash co-sponsored by Maxim and the Israeli consulate in New York featured a photo of a provocatively posed, bikini-clad former Miss Israel beneath Jewish state’s seal.

Some Israeli lawmakers, unsurprisingly, are not amused. Knesset member Colette Avital — a former consul general in New York — slammed the “pornographic campaign.”

Also not surprisingly, the always-puckish New York Post has had a field day, with Miss Israel splayed across today’s front page, accompanied by the headline “Piece in the Mideast: Hebrew-haha over Israeli beauty queen.”

The Post has some great quotes that illustrate the mindset of those at the consulate who apparently thought this was a good idea:

“We found that Israel’s image among men 18-38 is lacking,” David Saranga, consul for media and public affairs said.

“So we thought we’d approach them with an image they’d find appealing.”


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