The IDF spokesperson's complaint against Bar Refaeli's participation in a Foreign Ministry video is quite puzzling. Apparently, someone in the IDF Spokesperson's Office fails to understand how PR works around the world. Apart from being a well-known model worldwide, Bar Refaeli is also a good and fluent representative of Israel.
Much larger countries than Israel and those which enjoy better public relations than ours use their celebrities to promote tourism – even if the ambassadors are controversial. Here the situation is even worse: Israel, regrettably, only makes it into world news when there are terror attacks, wars, and when the president is imprisoned for rape.
Of course I don't need to mention that most of the world is not among our greatest supporters. Unfortunately, that’s the situation – and the State of Israel is generally perceived by the world as an occupying country abusing the Palestinians. True, we all know that it's not black or white, and that reality on the ground is much more complex, but what can we do about the fact that the State of Israel does not excel in PR and even fails in hasbara?
So when Bar Refaeli – one of the most successful models in the world who is most wanted on the highest rates television shows all over the world – is recruited, we should be happy and welcome her with open arms. Rejecting her would be a foolish, unreasonable decision.
Indeed, she didn't serve in the army and I deeply regret that, but she has been doing her service for the State for quite a few years now, voluntarily. And in general, we should not automatically support the persecution of draft dodgers which we have become accustomed to. In every interview, Refaeli brings some normality into the way the State of Israel is perceived, presenting our life in a sane manner and with a smile.
And one more thing: A short while ago, Refaeli was chosen to host a reality show in Germany. She demanded that the producers shoot parts of the program here, in order to expose the State of Israel to German television viewers.
Unfortunately, it seems that the IDF spokesperson is once again dealing with issues of secondary importance, basically sabotaging a golden opportunity to present the State of Israel as welcoming for incoming tourism. I believe that using every world famous Israeli/Jew for this purpose is the right thing to do. We must do anything we can to promote our country and present a positive image to the world.