Sex Tourism to Israel? Knesset Members Fume at 'Porn Ads'

The blast began with Knesset member Colette Avital demanding that the House debate "the pornographic campaign to encourage tourism to Israel, sponsored by the Tourism and Foreign Affairs ministries".

Avital's ire was aroused, so to speak, by an invitation to a party celebrating Israeli female soldiers. The bash was reportedly a joint effort of the Israeli consulate in New York and the American men's magazine Maxim, which purports, according to the Web, to report on "hot girls, sex, sports, games, technology, hotties?".

The invite shows hot-girl Gal Gadot, beauty queen of 2004 and model, wearing a bikini. She invites readers to participate in a party co-hosted by the Israeli consulate in New York and Maxim, honoring Israeli female soldiers.

Avital, formerly the general consul to New York, wonders whether "developing a sex tourism industry" is the best way to attract tourism.

Meretz faction leader Zehava Gal'On chimed in, saying it was a shame that the New York consul thought Israel's relevance would best be demonstrated by naked women being treated like objects, not as people with content. "It is a pity that the consulate has not digested the fact that western nations cannot market themselves using half-naked women," she stormed.

Tourism Minster Yitzhak Aharonovitch said the ministry had nothing to do with the invitations.