by the Forward

Bar Refaeli’s U.S. Roadtrip

Call her the Israeli Tocqueville.

Bar Refaeli, the first Israeli model to pose for the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition, upped her visibility in the United States even further last week, guiding viewers across the country in an October 3 TV special for the cable channel Bravo. “Ironic Iconic America,” filmed with the input of fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger, featured the 23-year-old Refaeli visiting such famous locations as Venice Beach, Calif.; Niagara Falls, N.Y., and South Dakota’s Mount Rushmore. “I’ve always been in love with America,” Refaeli told a Fox 11 reporter in Los Angeles. “It was nice to learn more about it, and all the icons and things that are very American.”

Perhaps best known outside Israel for dating Leonardo DiCaprio, Refaeli has proved a controversial figure at home. The Hod Hasharon native responded angrily in the international media after she and DiCaprio were hounded by the Israeli press during a trip to the country in 2007. And she generated widespread anger a year ago by telling the Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot that she didn’t “regret not enlisting” in the military, because the decision “paid off big time” as she developed her modeling career.

Following a strong backlash — including calls to Israeli companies, telling them not to employ her — Refaeli has worked hard to make amends with her countrymen, talking up Israel in overseas interviews and bringing Sports Illustrated to the beaches of Caesarea and the Dead Sea for this year’s swimsuit edition photo shoot.

“Maybe one day, we can do an ‘Ironic Iconic Israel,’” Refaeli suggested during her Los Angeles TV appearance.

“That would be lovely,” Hilfiger said.

This story "Bar Refaeli’s U.S. Roadtrip" was written by Nathan Burstein.

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Bar Refaeli’s U.S. Roadtrip

Thank you!

This article has been sent!