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Approved for second and third reading: Minimum weight restriction for advertisement models

Publicized: March 5, 2012

The Knesset Labor, Welfare and Health Committee, chaired by Knesset Member Haim Katz (Likud) approved for its second and third reading the bill by MKs Dr. Rachel Adatto (Kadima) and Danny Danon (Likud), which states that models with a body mass index, or BMI (established by ratio of body weight to height) under 18.5 will not appear in advertisements—on billboards, television, or newspapers. The bill further stipulates that if graphic editing, such as Photoshop, is used to thin out the models, the ad must contain a disclaimer stating such. The aforementioned conditions will apply to advertisements shot abroad with foreign models, which are then imported to Israel. Advertisements not intended for the Israeli population and non-commercial advertisements are not included in this bill.

The bill`s initiator, MK Adatto, said in the discussion: ”This bill is another tier in the war against eating disorders. Each year, 1500 adolescents join this dark circle. This is the number one cause of death specifically in youth. They see celebrities and connect success and fame with thinness. This bill must enter the State of Israel`s book of laws. The fact that it was taken up for discussion in Israel led to the phenomenon of ceasing to hire models under size 36 around the world.”

MK Rabbi Uri Maklev (United Torah Judaism): ”This is a life-saving bill and therefore I support it. I have received painful evidence from sufferers of anorexia and bulimia. If I am asked as a Haredi, I would say that the subject of models does not interest me, but the ramifications are important to discuss.”
Adi Noiman, model: ”The purpose [of the bill] is very worthy. I saw people around me deteriorating. At the same time, it is important to look not only at height and weight, but also at general health, and fat and muscle percentage.” Noiman pointed out that her BMI rests slightly below 18.5.

Shai Cohel-Arbel, from the ”Yuli” modeling agency stressed that even his famous models, Shelly Gafni and Shirley Bouganim do not stand up to the new parameters, and called to discuss them again.

Dr. Yitzhak Wurgaft, a child and adolescent psychologist: A body mass index of 18.5 was not arbitrarily decided upon; going below it can slow bone growth and multiply the chances of amenorrhea (lack of menstruation) and broken bones. Only 5% of women fall under the category of `genetically underweight`.”
Adi Barkan, photographer and modeling agent: ”In the last 15 years we lost our heads and we lost the girls. Modeling agencies which claim they aren`t aware of eating disorders and that they never ordered their models to lose weight, are lying.”

In the course of the discussion, the representative of the government`s legal advisor brought an opinion opposite to that of the representative for the Minister of Justice: Sarit Spiegelstein claimed the bill attacks models` and modeling agencies` freedom to work. Attack via advertisements is too sweeping and not immediate enough. In contrast, Gilad Samama stressed that the Minister of Justice thinks the bill worthy of advancement.

MK Adatto responded angrily to Spigelstein`s words. ”The bill was waiting for you to open it for a year and a half, and now you remember?” Chairman Katz: ”They`re not interested in the bill and are just making filibusters. But we aren`t working with them.”

Katz summarized the meeting: ”The data is shocking. This is a much-needed bill, and if we save the life of one boy or girl in Israel with it, it will have been worthwhile.”

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