Nov 2, 2006

spaghetti-strap marketing

There has been a lot of talk in the press recently over the latest campaign to market Israel by the Ministry of Tourism.

The ministry (headed by Isaac "Boojie" (sp?) Herzog) has decided its new marketing campaign would focus on the beaches of Israel and the bikinis paraded there. No matter that there are beaches all over the world and are not unique to Israel. No matter that there are women in bikinis all around the world and not unique to Israel (though Jewish women in bikinis might be unique). No matter that Israel does have unique aspects to promote for tourism. They decided to go that route.

They have come under a lot of criticism. One major aspect of the criticism is a point I just mentioned. Shas wants the ministry to change the campaign to promote the uniqueness of Israel by marketing the Western Wall, the Cave of the Patriarchs, Rachels Tomb and many other holy sites around Israel.
I would add that aside from holy sites and graves, Israel is loaded with historical lsites, as just about every world ruler in history came through Israel with his armies. But the point is the same - Israel has unique aspects other than just beaches. Promote those.

Another point I would like to make is that there is currently a strike going on by the employees of Ben Gurion Airport, causing delays and great inconvenience of travellers. I ask, will tourists continue to come here just for the beaches when every few months they are subject to great hassles at the airport? They never know if they show up in Israel will they get their luggage or not. Will they have to stand for hours in the airport while flights out are delayed and rescheduled? If the only reason I was coming to Israel was for the great beaches, I would go elsewhere.
The government should make it illegal for Ben Gurion employees to strike and cause delays. The country cannot afford it.

The point I really wanted to get to though, is this, As part of the new marketing campaign, the Ministry of Tourism has made arrangements with Bar Rafaeli, Israel's top model and an internationally recognized and successful model, and she is making headlines dating leonardo Di Caprio, to be the face for the new campaign. I guess they think people will see her pretty face and figure if they come to Israel all the women in bikinis on the beach will look like her, and that they cannot resist.

This has come under some criticism. The point of the criticism on this is that Bar Rafaeli is a draft dodger. It seems that 3 years ago when she was called up for service, she refused to serve in the army. Her critics say that a draft dodger should not be the one representing Israel on the world stage.

I do not really think that is such a problem. People looking at her picture have no idea that she avoided her army service. They will not take that as an example and decide based on her success to be draft dodgers as well. Though I understand their point.

My problem with her is this. She is dating, very publicly, a goy. Everybody knows (I just found out the past few days when reading the newspapers) that she is dating Leonardo Di Caprio. If he is Jewish and I am mistaken please correct me and I will apologize, but as far as I know he is a gentile. And that she is dating him is much more public knowledge than the fact that she is a draft dodger.

I find it reprehensible that the person the Israeli government selected to represent it in a worldwide marketing campaign is someone who spends much of the year living abroad (for business reasons) and is very publicly dating a non-Jew. Find someone who can be more of a role model for our youth and our ideals.


  1. u make some good points but i can understand why they wouldnt focus on the kotel or chevron though. those places are constantly in the spotlight as being dangerous and controversial. when on vacation, a tourist doesnt want to feel like s/he is making a political statement. they want fun, adventure, relaxation. they want to see pictures of pretty people drinking cocktails with the little umbrellas on a beautiful mediteranean beach. hawaii doesnt advertise the fact that theres a giant volcano that goes off all the time. they show u everything else. no one wants to think of a volcano exploding when they are planning a vacation.

    wasnt leo di caprio the one who publicly made antisemitic statements when the movie titanic came out?

  2. I hear you but I still think that if it is all just beaches there are plenty of places with better beaches. I think very few people come here just for the beaches. If they were thinking about coming for beaches and women they would say why put up with all that danger just for a beach - I can go to a different beach.

    I have no idea if he made such a statement or not

  3. could you forward me these ads, so I can preveiw them and determine their inappropriateness?

  4. I do not think they are available yet. I think they are just begininning the planning of the new campaign. I am sure when it is out, you wil see them before me (they will be doing this abroad for tourists to come to Israel, not locally for Israelis to tour)

  5. i'm not looking to defend the objectification of women or the usage of non-tzeniistic images, but . . .

    whether beaches are what make israel unique or not is beside the point. people come to israel for all sorts of reasons. there is no reason that beachgoing can't be one of them. maybe if they come for beaches they will then do other more "important" and "unique" thing.

    and for that matter, i think some people do come just for beaches. in 2005 about 80,000 travellers used uvda airport outside of eilat( even if we assume half were israelis flying abroad (which i doubt because the numbers drop drastically during the boiling hot summer months), that still leaves 40,000 people coming to eilat. and i don't think they came just for the timna mines.

    "Bar Rafaeli, Israel's top model and an internationally recognized and successful model"

    really? i never heard of her.

    shavu'ah tov

  6. Ari - you are right, people do come for beaches (especially Eilat), but this campaign is the main focus and campaign Israel is putting out. It is not just an additional campaign along with the others. The Ministry has decided that this will be their focus.

    I never had heard of her either, but I do not read the fashion magazines and modelling industry stuff. According to the articles I read last week in the newspaper discussing the issue, she is THE top model to come out of Israel and is internationally recognized. To me most models on advertisements and billvoards are just a pretty face and I have no idea who they are. People who are interested in that field know who all the models are. I guess that is not your forte either...

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