- (Photo: Twitter/Bar Refaeli)
Bar Refaeli has come under fire in her native Israel after the nation's army accused the model of being a draft dodger this week.
Israel's foreign ministry recently selected Refaeli to lead a public relations campaign emphasizing the nation's technological feats.
However, the Israeli army took issue with the decision, and blasted the famed model for never having joined the army and being a poor example to Israel's youth, according to NBC World News.
"I wish to turn your attention to the negative message that could be delivered to Israeli society," an army spokesperson penned to the foreign ministry.
In Israel, enlistment is compulsory for three years for men and two years for women, but about half of women and one-third of men do not serve, citing mostly religious or medical reasons.
In the past, Refaeli publically stated that serving in the army would hinder her career. Then, when pressured by the system, the model was suspected to have evaded service by marrying a family friend and getting an exemption as a married woman. It was widely reported in Israel that Refaeli got divorced as soon as she was exempted from service.
Prideful of her heritage, Refaeli often supports Israel, but her nation's army feels that her failure to serve bars her from representing the country.
Meanwhile, the foreign ministry has defended the Sports Illustrated cover model.
"Bar Rafaeli … is considered one of the most beautiful women in the world and she is widely recognized as Israeli," the foreign ministry said in a statement. "There is no reason to dredge up the past when we are dealing with a public diplomacy campaign of this kind."
Rafaeli has not publicly reacted to the controversy in Israel. A frequent Twitter user, the model did reveal that she was in her native country on Tuesday.
"It's such a perfect day, I'm glad I spent it with yout #israel #beach #summer #sea #hot #fun #friends," wrote the model.