Nope, Bar Refaeli Doesn't Belong Behind Bars

Megamodel Refaeli is just too beautiful, successful, rich, presentable. Jail is for ugly folks, no?

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Bar Refaeli and her mom, Tzipi.
Bar Refaeli and her mom, Tzipi.Credit: Daniel Bar-On, Eyal Nevo
Alon Idan
Alon Idan

It was touching to read about Tzipi Refaeli’s offer to go to prison for a year and half in place of her daughter, the Israeli megamodel. For a moment you could sense a basic animal instinct that is always latent in humanity but reveals itself at times of danger and distress. Behold, a mother protecting her cubs like a lioness, especially her beautiful, vulnerable daughter who has just given birth to a son and is about to be hauled away and thrown into jail by the cruel authorities of the repressive machine called the state.

I suppose there will be the cynics and the skeptics who won’t be satisfied with this biological-heroic explanation and will prefer to journey into darker realms. They will describe Bar Refaeli as a kind of hen who lays golden eggs and Mother Tzipi as seeking to protect this dazzling business enterprise. Well, we needn’t get too agitated about the sourpusses who are not so much describing external reality as they are their own inner psyches, with their benighted twists and turns, filthy walls and dreadful odors.

In any event, the deal that’s taking shape between the Refaeli family and the state prosecution – both mother and daughter – have been accused of tax evasion and money-laundering – can be understood in the most straightforward way: Bar Refaeli is simply not cut out for jail. How can we talk in the same breath about a beautiful woman like her and a narrow little cell like that? About an internationally successful lady and a place that’s geared to the wretched of the earth, the poor and the mad, the ugly and the indigent?

There’s a flagrant discrepancy here and it must be resolved. Which is also why the Refaeli family came up with a creative solution: The mother will represent the daughter in prison, will serve a year and a half in her place – with a third off for good behavior, obviously – and life will go on as if nothing happened. It’s in the interests of both sides: After all, the state also doesn’t think that such a beautiful, internationally successful lady should be ensconced in a place reserved for down-at-the-heels types who’ve tried to cheat, steal, conceal or launder.

So, yes, according to the suspicions, Bar Refaeli tried to launder and conceal millions of shekels. Lots of millions. Like, between 30 and 35. She told the tax assessor – that guy who give you that patronizing, world-weary look when you try to understand how to fill out the form – that during the period in question, she was not a resident of Israel, and therefore did not include income from her work abroad in her annual statements. The thing is that, in reality, she did and she does reside in Israel. And the discrepancy between that reality and the statement was worth a bundle of money.

So, yes, it looks as though Bar Refaeli operated a little like those down-at-the-heels types who try to cheat, conceal and launder. But it’s not exactly the same thing because, after all, they are nondescript, poor, dubious, scary, violent, and usually also ugly and smelly. And she, after all, is so beautiful, rich, blonde, thin and presentable (what terrific English, huh?). And she welcomes tourists and bids farewell to Israelis at Ben-Gurion airport, pops up on the Ayalon Freeway a few times a year. And she’s a celeb from the premier league, girlfriend (res.) of a Hollywood superstar, Israel’s emissary to the Diaspora. So she’s not cut out to serve time. It’s just not for her.

It’s heartening to read that the state prosecution also understands the problem here, and instead of simply issuing an indictment for the serious offenses, has been negotiating with the Refaelis. They understand that if the indictment is submitted as is – without any sort of plea bargain – the “Bar Refaeli” brand is liable to suffer (to the tune of millions!). And they, after all, don’t want to be responsible for any potential brand damage. Which, when all is said and done, is brand damage in terms of the whole Zionist enterprise.

On top of which, Bar Refaeli has just given birth to a little boy – the first son after two daughters (congrats!), and the thought of a new mother being jailed and not being able to be with the fruit of her loins 24 hours a day, is giving the sensitive prosecutors sleepless nights. True, they have been able to demand jail time for a president, a prime minister and countless cabinet ministers. But those sorts come and go, whereas Bar remains for all time. So, she is not cut out to go to jail. And so she will not go to jail. Thus what’s needed is an escape route that’s agreeable to all sides.

And a few words to all those nondescript, ugly, poor, dubious folks who are now behind bars and might claim they’re being discriminated against: Guys, relax, this isn’t discrimination – it’s reality. You really are nondescript, ugly and dubious; you really are of no interest to most people, who prefer not to run into you on the street or in life in general. And she really is beautiful, rich, internationally successful, famous, desirable, with really terrific English. So there’s no real comparison. Don’t make yourselves fools of yourselves, it’s embarrassing. Just keep sitting quietly in your cell and be grateful that someone is even mentioning you. (Hey, if by chance you should see Tzipi there soon, tell her that her daughter is totally s-t-u-n-n-i-n-g.)

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