Renee Ghert-Zand — Times of Israel June 20, 2013
A sexy video ad from the a youth outreach program of Canada’s Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs promoting Tel Aviv tourism is getting a rise out of some rabbis and community leaders, and catching the attention of the mainstream Canadian press.
The 30-second spot was released by Size Doesn’t Matter, a social media campaign promoting Israel by “highlighting [its] multitude…accomplishments and contributions in a new, fun and attractive way.
It shows a smooth chested, ripped young man in nothing but his white boxer briefs looking out over the Mediterranean from his boutique hotel balcony, and then dropping the underwear as he gets into the shower.
He is seen provocatively soaping his chest, then the camera cuts to his feet, which are joined by a pair of female ones. Following a little moaning, more feet (male) enter the shower behind the woman. A final moan (this time, a male voice) is heard, and “Tel Aviv, There’s Room For Everyone” flashes across the screen.
Toronto and Montreal rabbis may be calling the ad “disgusting” and “soft porn,” but that certainly is not keeping people from watching it. It’s been viewed more than 74,000 times since it was posted in YouTube on June 7, and it’s closing in on the popularity of Size Doesn’t Matter’s controversial 2010 “Small Country Big Paradise” video ad that used oral sex innuendo to entice young people to visit Israel.
“I would have hoped that even supposed secular Tel Aviv had greater appeal than a shower and a threesome,” Rabbi Mordecai Zeitz of Montreal’s Congregation Beth Tikvah Ahavat Shalom Nusach Hoari tells the Jewish Tribune.
Briyah Paley, a young Jewish woman in San Francisco who saw the ad agrees and calls it “offensive.”
“The message is that Israel is all about sex… I don’t see why they think that’s the best way to appeal to young adults,” she says. Paley personally prefers ads emphasizing Israel’s culture, history and geographical beauty.
Opinion swings the other way, however, among other 20-somethings. Jeff Singer, a recent graduate of Tulane University in New Orleans believes the spot is “attention-getting” — in a good way.
“It’s not like this is happening at the Western Wall or a holy site where that would be inappropriate,” Singer notes about the shower activity.
Audrey Amar, a theater director and law student in Toronto, likes the inclusive message. Noting divisiveness and exclusion that does exist, she was glad to see Tel Aviv presented as “a place in Israel where none of that matters. [Tel Aviv is] almost paralleling itself as the Vegas of the Middle East.”
Sin City also came to Los Angeles filmmaker Jessie Kahnweiler’s mind when she viewed the ad.
“You can get drunk and laid anywhere, so why travel to a galaxy far, far away like Israel?” Kahnweiler asks. “If I saw that ad and had never been to Israel, it wouldn’t make me want to go… Just go to Vegas: It’s cheaper and has just as much desert.”
Below is another advert from the same campaign: