If you thought Israeli supermodel Bar Rafaeli’s appearance on the cover of Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue in 2007 stirred things up, wait until you see this: The Huffington Post just released photos of Refaeli’s cover for next month’s Esquire — and this time there’s not even a bikini. Completely nude and covered in what seems to be the beginning of a Stephen King story, the cover takes objectification to a new level. Refaeli’s (bizarrely orange) body is reduced to scrap paper. Words are scrawled on her in messy handwriting, and one word has even been scratched out and rewritten. But, as they say, sex sells, and if this serves to increase the world’s awareness of Israeli hotties, so be it.
I don’t keep abreast of the latest celebrity polls, but I do have a finely honed sense of ethnic pride so I was chuffed for my Landsmen when I heard that Bar Refaeli came in third in the Maxim Hot 100 this year.
Out of a professional journalistic obligation, I clicked through all 100 women to see which two talented young ladies had been voted ahead of Lady Bar and was appalled to see Olivia Wilde in the number one position. For those of us unclouded by raunchy character plotlines on “The OC” and “House,” it’s clear that not only is Wilde not the hottest person in America, she’s not even the hottest person on “House.”
Her acting prowess notwithstanding, Wilde’s barely in the top three hottest people in her show. For the bronze, it’s a toss up between her and Hugh Laurie (I may be a straight man, but I’m only human), a clear silver for Jennifer Morrison (whether blonde or brunette). That means, in gold medal position — and, purely coincidentally — another triumph for the Chosen People, on top of the podium: Lisa Edelstein, right.
Many Israelis considered it sexiest advertisement of the year. According to the Women’s International Zionist Organization (WIZO), it is also worthy of a more dubious accolade — the most sexist.
It is an advertisement for mineral water brand Eden Springs that features model Bar Refaeli posed seductively in the male protagonist’s kitchen. “The bar you always wanted at home,” says the catch line — referencing both the model and an Eden Springs dispenser.
WIZO decided to identify the most sexist advertisement as part of its events tied to International Women’s Day, which was celebrated last week. The organization is calling on the public not to buy products that advertise themselves “through the denigration of women.”
A man who appeared to be breaking traffic laws has been cleared of all charges because he celebrates his birthday according to the Hebrew calendar, not the Gregorian calendar.
In Israel, you are only allowed to drive with up to two passengers unless you are 21 or older. In September 2007, driver Chaim Frankel was taking four passengers. A policeman stopped him, looked at his documents, and said he was only 20-years-old. Frankel said he had turned 21 a fortnight earlier.
The dispute centered around the fact that Frankel — like many religious Jews — celebrates his birthday according to the Hebrew calendar, and therefore considered himself 21.
Given that both Gregorian and Hebrew dates have legal status in Israel, the case caused considerable discussion until last week when a judge acquitted Frankel — now 23, according to everyone — of all charges.
It’s the perennial problem experienced by synagogue gabbais, or wardens. When people pledge a donation to the synagogue when called to the Torah — a practice called shnoddering — how do they ensure the promises are kept?
So sick of people not paying was the gabbai in the Halmin synagogue the Haredi settlement of Beitar that, according to reports in the Orthodox press, he called the credit card company Isracard and asked for help finding a solution. He now has a mobile credit card machine that he charges at home and takes to synagogue in the morning (except on the Sabbath when no monetary transactions are permitted).
Yes, you can pay in installments.
Back as a bored Hebrew school kid in suburban Chicago, I passed the time by staring at the map of Israel that hung on every classroom wall in my synagogue. Although I’d never traveled there, I knew the shape and topography of the country remarkably well — the ironically shrimp-shaped swath of brown, ringed by three pools of blue: the Mediterranean Sea to the West, the Red Sea to the South and the Dead Sea to the East.
So imagine my surprise when, on my first trip to Israel two years ago, I eagerly visited the Dead Sea to find out that it’s gone — or at least shrinking at an unprecedented rate, along with the rest of Israel’s water supply. I felt cheated. All I wanted to do was float about in those intensely salty waters I’d read about my entire life. Instead, my pilgrimage merely introduced me to “Israel’s chronic water problem.”
Luckily, water specialist (er, Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition model), Bar Refaeli, is on the case. According to the blog, Green Prophet:
The [Israeli] Water Authority has recruited [Refaeli] to help educate the public about Israel’s water crisis. [She] will participate in an ad campaign to increase awareness and encourage water conservation practices.
Local actress, Renana Raz, participated in a similar public service announcement, with the catchphrase “Israel is drying out.” You can watch the Hebrew-language clip here (oh, if I had only paid more attention in Hebrew school.)
I can only hope that these efforts prove more effective than PETA’s campaign to use a nude Alicia Silverstone to convince people to be vegetarian.
Israeli model and Leonardo DiCaprio girlfriend Bar Refaeli thinks Israel’s not worth all the trouble. She spoke with the Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharanot about skipping army duty and moving to L.A.:
In her interview, the Israeli model said she was not against army service, even though she never enlisted, having married an acquaintance to evade the draft. The couple was soon divorced.
“I really wanted to serve in the IDF, but I don’t regret not enlisting, because it paid off big time,” she said. “That’s just the way it is, celebrities have other needs. I hope my case has influenced the army.
“Israel or Uganda, what difference does it make? It makes no difference to me. Why is it good to die for our country? What, isn’t it better to live in New York? Why should 18-year-old kids have to die? It’s dumb that people have to die so that I can live in Israel,” Refaeli added.
Good thing she wasn’t at the Seventh Zionist Congress.
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