The Jerusalem Post

Maxim displays beautiful IDF soldiers as part of bid to reshape Israel’s image

- • By MATTI FRIEDMAN

A new Israeli public relations effort wants the country known less for its conflict with the Palestinia­ns or for its myriad holy sites than for its beautiful women in uniform.

Or, more accurately, out of uniform.

A photo spread in the upcoming July issue of the US lad mag Maxim features a roster of Israeli models, all ex-soldiers, photograph­ed wearing very little in the cause of their country.

Initiated by Israel’s New York consulate and headlined “Women of the Israel Defense Forces,” the campaign has already been criticized as inappropri­ate by some in Israel.

The Maxim shoot presents Israeli models like Nivit Bash, who apparently served in military intelligen­ce – though the only remnant of an army career evident in her photograph on the magazine’s Web site is a military-style black cap that matches a minimal swimsuit.

Gal Gadot, a former Miss Israel and army fitness instructor, appears sprawled provocativ­ely on the ledge of a Tel Aviv high-rise.

The idea originated in the media office at Israel’s consulate in New York City, where research showed that Israel meant little to young American men.

“Males that age have no feeling toward Israel one way or another, and we view that as a problem, so we came up with an idea that would be appealing to them,” said David Dorfman, a media adviser at the consulate.

Maxim’s popularity with that demographi­c led to the strange partnershi­p.

“ Maxim was approached by the Israeli consulate to be a part of reshaping Israel’s public image, specifical­ly because of our unmatched mainstream reach to men aged 18 to 35. We are pleased with the result of our work together,” the magazine said in a statement.

The consulate and Maxim launched the Israel-themed photo shoot at a glitzy event in Manhattan on Tuesday night.

But in Israel, the campaign drew an angry reaction from lawmaker Colette Avital, a former diplomat who served as Israel’s consul-general in New York in the 1990s.

“We definitely have public relations problems, and I’m all for creative solutions,” Avital said. “But there are enough beautiful and interestin­g things we can use to tap this demographi­c than to show a half-naked woman in a magazine of this kind, considered pornograph­ic.” “I don’t think this helps Israel’s image.” (AP)

THE CONSULATE GENERAL of Israel in New York has teamed up with Maxim Magazine to show what else Israel has to offer: the women of the IDF.

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