Sep 22, 2007 at 01:09am IST

Israeli soldiers use bikini to promote nation's image

New Delhi: Israel is working on its image. And it’s got former women soldiers for the cause. But not everyone is convinced. Bikini clad women in provocative poses are not professional models they are former soldiers of the Israeli army now promoting an image of their country as one far removed from conflict and human tragedy.

"What we are trying to achieve is to show the world that Israel is not only conflict. The image of Israel is not only men, either armed in uniform, or Jewish orthodox dressed in black. You have some beautiful women out here,” said PR and Media Deputy Director Aviv Sharon.

The government-backed ad campaign has raised the hackles of Israeli feminists. They see it as a setback to women's efforts to achieve equality on the basis of achievement rather than appearance.

“Using sex through young women as a promotion of tourism or anything else to me its inappropriate, to me its wrong, to me it’s vulgar and I don't like to see it anymore,” said Former MP and Feminist Etti Livni.

But Ortal Katz, one of the girls featured in the campaign sees nothing wrong with what she's doing.

"All the world knows that Israel is the 'holy land,' so maybe they have to know more things about Israel. It's a kind of way to tell tourists to come here, and it's fine. I don't think there is anything wrong about it," said Ortal Katz Model in the campaign.

And the public reception seems to suggest the campaign could do much to re-work Israel's image.