The IDF has recently announced it will no longer categorize models as “active artists”, that provide recognized artists benefits during their military service that regular soldiers don't have access to.
The IDF gives the coveted status and the accompanying benefits - such as less hours in the base, shorter basic training and a permit to fly abroad frequently - to those who enlisted in the military having started successful careers in various artistic fields such as music, sport, dancing and now social media.
While models were once eligible to receive those same benefits, the IDF has decided this will no longer be the case, even if the model in question has received an international recognition.
"There is no person who has worked harder for a career like I have, and the military has not respected it," said model Barak Shamir,19, who decided to leave the military in order to pursue his modeling career.
“I know many celebrities who have received the 'active artist' status and do not even have an international career. I'm not saying they did not deserve it - but they are not internationally recognized like me.”
Ziva Michael, CEO of the Yuli modeling agency, also expressed her bewilderment at the decision.
“What international careers do social media influencers have and why do they need special conditions like a permit to fly abroad?”
According to Michaeli, while she does not understand the decision, she does not believe it will lead to models dodging their mandatory military service.
"All the young models in our agency have enlisted, and are in important and influential positions. It comes from them," said Michael. "I have a hard time conceptually having my model dodge their military service."
Rotem Gur from the R&R agency by Roberto and Rotem, which represents international models such as Sofia Mechetner (current face of Christian Dior), Dorit Ravelis and Avital Langer said she also noticed the winds have started to change course.
"Until five years ago, almost every model received the 'active artist' status automatically. It was enough that you did one big campaign in Israel and abroad, and you got it. Recently, we felt that the IDF was making it difficult for us.”
According to Gur, two international models at the agency, Dorit Ravelis and Avital Langer, did not receive an active artist status from the IDF. "Why? They did not explain,” added Gur.
The IDF Spokesperson's Unit said in response: “In the spirit of the time and the changes that have taken place in the field in recent years, the IDF decided to redefine and adapt the ordinance dealing with the recruitment of active and outstanding artists.”
“As part of the ordinance update, it was decided to remove the modeling field from the active artist ordinance, mainly due to the difficulty of estimating and classifying the occupation according to the IDF criteria. It should be noted that each application for active artist status is examined by an orderly committee, based on the established criteria.”