VIDEO - Can Bar Refaeli's smile change the way Israel
is perceived internationally? The Foreign Ministry sure thinks so, but haredi and religious students are demanding a "more Zionistic, respectable" representation.
The students decided to make their voices heard in light of the Foreign Ministry's announcement to use the supermodel as the star of a campaign aimed at showing the world that Israel is not just a war-ridden country.
They drafted a letter in cooperation with the "The Legal Forum for the Land of Israel," which has thus far been sent to Foreign Ministry Director-General Rafi Barak,
until a minister is officially appointed.
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"We know that Refaeli had a publicized relationship with a gentile actor," said Eyal Cohen, a law student at the Ono Academic College's haredi campus. "And in this way, she certainly doesn't represent the Israeli public."
Cohen's friend, Gilad Israeli, a student at Bar Ilan University, said "Refaeli did not serve in the army and even takes pride in that. Before we offer ourselves up to the world, we need to decide who we are. We have much more to offer than girls playing matkot (Israeli paddleball) on the beach.
"We have a glorious Israeli heritage – in which we must take pride. Trying to be Hollywood 2 won't work."
Another student, Roni Stempler, said: "We need to demand much more from whoever represents us. There are models who did serve in the army. Noa Tishby is just as pretty, and who said that models are needed? Why not make Nobel Prize
winners presenters? We don't need to sell ourselves for a cheap price with the assistance of models."