Repercussions felt in New York and Tel Aviv

If you live in New York and have good contacts with the Israeli Consulate, the American Israel Friendship League or Israel21c you may have already received your invite to tonight’s Women of the Israel Defense Forces by invitation only event at the Marquee club. Produced in Association with Maxim magazine this event is part of a campaign to alter Israel’s image amongst the male, 18-35 year old demographic and to encourage tourism to Israel, which wishes to be perceived as a fun place and not be defined by the Palestinian conflict.

Maxim? Uhm...

But this event has stirred up quite a bit of controversy. Former Consul-General to New York and Labor MK Colette stated:

This pornographic campaign sponsored by the Foreign and Tourism Ministries is an outrage … Israel’s image has been tainted by sex-scandals involving high-ranking officials as it is. I wonder if the best way to encourage tourism is by advertising sex…

Avital has also approached Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik demanding an urgent session be called to discuss the matter. Knesset member Zahava Gal-On, chairwoman of Meretz, agreed with Avital and stated: “It’s unfortunate that the Israeli consulate chose to emphasize Israel’s relevance with a portrait of a half-naked woman, instead of with one of women of substance and accomplishments.”

Now, while I am not opposed to Gal-On’s suggestion of a Maxim pictorial featuring her and Avital (so. hot.), I have additional objections. I am not offended by the intent behind this campaign. I know first-hand how much fun Israel actually is and just how beautiful its native sons and daughters are (both inside and out). But man… Maxim magazine as an organ of Israeli Hasbarah?? I know it’s ostensibly a magazine that celebrates the hallmarks of machismo, but really? It’s just plain stupid. The articles are pathetic, the pictorials are racy but man, if you want porn – BUY PORN. I see Maxim as Cosmo for men – a lifestyle magazine that encourages insecurity-inspired consumerism. Any time I read Maxim I feel like an inadequate lover and that my butt is big. Male psyches are fragile and Maxim feeds on that. Do we really want Israel to be inundated with the sort of moronic metrosexual frat boy tourists that read Maxim on a regular basis?

My God. Haven’t our people suffered enough?

Also, props to the New York Post for their clever title on the article on this story: Babes in Oy Land Scuffle. Hilarious. Hat tip to Yoni of Lonely Man of Cake who is too classy with all his dissing of Merlot to blog about something as pedestrian as this but was nonetheless kind enough to pass the story on to me.

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About the author


Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.


  • an odd way to promote Israel as not defined by conflict, “women of the Israeli Defense Forces.”

  • Just some random thoughts:

    A. “Do we really want Israel to be inundated with the sort of moronic metrosexual frat boy tourists that read Maxim on a regular basis?” – Ummmm, apparently you haven’t been on Birthright lately…

    B. But seriously folks, what’s the big friggin’ deal, and who’s surprised by this? Israel has terrible PR, and this is just one more example of it. No doubt that Ronn [sic] Torrosian is involved with this.

    C. On the other hand, Israel thrives on tourism, and if this sends a message directly from American dudes’ eyes to their dinks to their wallets in the form of a plane-tickets purchased, so be it. Israel needs money, this helps bring it in.

    D. “Any time I read Maxim I feel like an inadequate lover and that my butt is big.” Both Jewdudes and Jewesses tend to be into booty, so embrace it. As JB said “For goodness sakes, look at them cakes!” and as well all know – Jews like cake.

    E. So having said all that, I might actually go out and buy this issue of Maxim (for the first time in my 30-year old life), just like I tracked down the May 1975 issue of Playboy with the “Girls of Israel” in it. I luvs me some hot Zionists.

  • It’s just plain wrong from a secular and religious pov at the same time. Do it unofficially, not sponsored by a government ministry.

  • Hmmmmm……..

    Advertsing product using pictures of hot, naked women in seductive poses.

    That’s never been tried before.

    I wonder what those sneaky Jews will come up with next?

    But seriously: that’s Miss Israel? She’s nothing but skin and bones! Didn’t her mother feed her?

  • what a disgusting way to advertise. no offense, israel, but women are people, not just bodies to be primped, prettified and exploited to attract male wealth. not to mention that, of all people to choose, they are exploiting women who risk their lives to defend their country. the women of the IDF don’t deserve that kind of shitty treatment.

  • What just cracks me up now— what makes me laugh is this line from the NY Post article:

    “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.”


    That’s not much better than the rest of the materialist culture that we live in. Promote sex to men.

    What is astounding is that the support for Israel that counts in the US is from bible thumping Christians that would hate this ad.

  • “an odd way to promote Israel as not defined by conflict, ‘women of the Israeli Defense Forces.'”

    Not necessarily–since all but the most religious women join up at 18, in this context “IDF” is code for “barely legal.”