Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Holy Land hotties look to boost Israeli tourism

Seeing Miss Israel in a Maxim spread can't be the religious experience most people associate with the Holy Land. But according to Israeli officials, nothing about the tiny nation appeals to foreign men -- except, of course, holy hotties.

"All the surveys we have done shows that the biggest hasbara problem that Israel has is with males from the age of 18-35," said David Saranga, the consul for media and public affairs at Israel's consulate in New York.

"Israel does not seem relevant for them, and that is bad for branding," he said. "In order to change their perception of Israel as only a land of conflict, we want to present to them an Israel that interests them."

To promote the "Israeli Defense Forces" spread in the July Maxim, the lad mag and the Israeli consulate in New York are throwing a party in Manhattan tonight.

Colette Avital, who previously served as consul general in New York and last week became the first woman to seek the Israeli presidency, deemed the photo spread "pornographic" and asked whether "the best way to encourage tourism to Israel is by developing sex tourism."

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