Israel bans too-slim models

By Jennifer Lipman, March 22, 2012

Until now, Israel's best-known contribution to the catwalk has been supermodel Bar Refaeli, but that may be about to change.

The Knesset passed a law this week that will prevent Israeli advertisers from using underweight models, including those who appear underweight, and force publications to acknowledge when photographs are airbrushed to make models appear slimmer.

Models working in Israel, male and female, will also be required to show employers an up-to-date medical report proving that their body mass index is above 18.5. According to Dr Rachel Adato, who sponsored the bill, only five per cent of women have BMIs that naturally fall below that number.

The legislation is understood to be the first effort by a national government to take on the culture of the modelling industry, which critics have long blamed for encouraging eating disorders through the consistent use of dangerously thin models.

The law has the support of Israeli modelling agent Adi Barkan, who criticised his industry for using young women who "look like dead girls". Dr Adato said she hoped other countries would follow in Israel's footsteps

Last updated: 4:27pm, March 22 2012