For a country surrounded by hostile factions, Israel is nonetheless in the avant-garde in confronting the enemy within: unattainable body image. A new Israeli law went into effect this week: female and male models are now required to produce a medical report no older than three months at every shoot for the Israeli market, stating that they are not malnourished by World Health Organization standards. WHO says a body mass index below 18.5 indicates malnutrition, so, a 5’ 8” tall woman should weigh no less than 119 lbs. A violation of this law – appearing in the media, on Israeli websites, or catwalks - is a criminal offense bearing a fine. And any ad made to look otherwise (via Photoshop) has to be labeled with a warning – at least 7 percent of the ad space - that the image has been distorted.
Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli (the first Israeli model to be featured in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit magazine, and voted #1 on Maxim’s Hot 100 list of 2012) is 5’ 8.5” and weighs 128 lbs. Although she avoided mandatory military services in the Israel Defense Forces in 2007 (by marrying a family acquaintance and divorcing him soon after) apparently Bar won’t need to worry about this law. She can continue to eat her favorite foods: sushi and French fries.
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