MK Boycotts Israeli Clothing Chain Fox for Employing Supermodel Bar Refaeli

Hatnuah MK Elazar Stern slams Fox CEO Harel Wiesel for making top Israeli model who didn't serve in the IDF as face of the brand.

An argument over Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli added a bit of spice to an otherwise dry Knesset Finance Committee debate on reducing the import tax on textiles Monday.

During the debate, MK Elazar Stern blasted Harel Wiesel, the CEO of the Israeli Fox clothing chain, for employing the supermodel, since she has faced public criticism in Israel for not serving in the army. Refaeli has been the face of the fashion chain for the past several years.

"Weisel employs a draft evader, and I haven't gone into his shops for years," Stern declared Monday.

Weisel, infuriated by the remark, stood up and shouted at Stern: "My son has finished his basic training, my daughter served in the army, and my father was a Holocaust survivor. You are disrespectful."

Stern responded, "It is not personal but for the public good."

In an attempt to calm tensions, committee chairman MK Nissan Slomiansky (Habayit Hayehudi) asked Weisel to apologize for his outburst, and Weisel complied. Slomiansky then asked that the exchange be deleted from the minutes of the meeting.

During Operation Pillar of Defense last year, Refaeli was harshly criticized by many right-wing members of various social networks after tweeting that she was "praying for the safety of citizens on both sides" during the conflict – referring to both Israeli citizens and residents of the Gaza Strip.

Refaeli was also the topic of debate last month, when the IDF criticized a public relations campaign launched by the Foreign Ministry to boost Israel's image around the world, because it starred the Israeli model, according to a Channel 2 report.

The report stated that the IDF spokesman sent an official letter to the Foreign Ministry arguing that by using Refaeli, who didn't complete her military service, the Foreign Ministry was sending a "message of forgiveness and turns a blind eye towards people that chose to enlist."

Monday's quarrel took place during a Finance Committee meeting to discuss a government proposal to reduce the import tax on textiles from 12 percent to zero. Following demands by local industrialists, a compromise was reached and the tax was set at 8 percent.  

Moti Kimche