isaelpr1.jpgIsrael’s gone to the dawgs, at least marketing wise. On April 9, Newsweek posted a piece to their site entitled “Babes in The Holy Land” which talks about the sex-selling turn Israel is taking in their tourism industry. Tourism in Israel, which formerly boasted a $2 Billion/yr revenue is now suffering and so the country is trying something new. Instead of promoting eretz (as was done in the past) and spirituality, they are marketing hot chicks on the streets of Tel Aviv by way of Maxim, that magazine that caters to the male libido.

Many, including former Tourism Minister Benny Elon are saying the titty route will cause Israel to suffer a setback in Israeli hasbarah and one that could cost the country dearly in both image and dollars. “Israel’s unique selling proposition is its religious. It’s the only state where you can take the Bible as your tourism guide.”

Still others such as famed lawyer Alan Dershowitz are claiming that pandering to the Religious Right (a “pet project” of Elon’s) is a foolish route for Israel to go, in that it will wed them to Arch Conservatives which can’t be good for their reputation.

Either way, the sordid scene that Newsweek describes on set of the Maxim shoot and Israeli consular David Saranga’s reactionary grin to his accomplishment in wooing Maxim to eretz Israel leads me to think this isn’t such a hot idea:

Jim Malucci has two tattoos, one on each bulging bicep. On the left one, the photographer for Maxim magazine has etched an image of a seductively dressed pinup; on the right, he has stenciled the words GO WITH GOD in Portuguese. He leans on his left arm and points his camera at a model in a bikini on the Tel Aviv beachfront. “That’s hot, that’s wicked,” says Malucci, as the model shifts her hips and parts her lips. “I wanna see the curves. That’s it, honey. On your knees, legs apart. Nice arch in your back—boom!” The flash flickers as the sun drops toward the Mediterranean. A Hassidic man in a black hat accidentally steps into the frame. “Love the guy with the hat!” Malucci says, chortling.

As World Hum astutely commented, “Okay, Mr. Marketing Guru, how about this one: How do you reach the conflicted young man who enjoys Maxim‘s Hometown Hotties and the Book of Job? Do you go after the angel on his left shoulder or the devil on his right? Or both?”

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  • What’s the problem, Israel has hot chicks, so does the US and Iran (now that just can’t be true can it?)

  • ck, if you think Israel’s hosting of a Maxim photo shoot amounts to sex tourism, you’d better keep a continent or two away from Phouket.

  • Make that Beth, not ck. (Say this for sex tourism: it’s inspired one of the best novels of the early 21st C., Michel Houellebecq’s Platform.)

  • This is totally sexist! Why not exploit the men of Israel? They’re the hottest males in the world. Us women want some eye candy too.

  • Thanks for trying ck but I want to see pics of hetrosexual Israeli men. The guys you linked to were gorgeous but knowing that they wouldn’t be intererested in me ruins it, know what I’m saying?
    Hetrosexual women are not like hetrosexual men. Two gay men all over each other don’t turn us on like two two lesbians do for you.
    Anyone have links for me please?

  • To be honest seeing a pic of a hot hetero dude (let alone a few intimate ones) doesnt do it for me either. I’d rather see a pic of two hot chicks. Then again visuals don’t really do it for me…

  • Amazing news. Trying to digest it all.
    Israel seems to have been trying this route for a while, and it doesnt seem to be working just yet. I remember hillel and birthright tried also with You always remember your first time campaign.

    There were those viral adds of girls on the beach too.


    I suggest: We need to approach every segment of the US at where they are.

    For those that read Maxim — there you go.
    For those that read the economist, well need other ammo.

    For that that listen to NPR, etc…

    And lastly, for those that bible thump — nothing needed. these guys love us!

  • I agree with Rabbi Yonah. It’s called marketing-different messages for different audiences. Look at the world of Israel-based and Jewish programming for teens; thank goodness there’s such a variety to bring as many kids to Israel as possible. NFTY for Reform, USY for Conservative, NCSY for Orthodox, BBYO and Young Judaea for all kids…etc. If hot babes is the ONLY message being sent to the world about how great this place is, we’re in trouble. But it’s not.