Normally, the Israeli Parliament (Trivia: it's called The Knesset) isn't known for much.  Their main duty is to issue anti-Palestine statements, calling the disputed area a "haven for terrorists." Their other main duty is to vote for a Prime Minister who can issue similar anti-Arab statements when the Knesset is out of session.  However, the rubber-stampers recently passed legislation that has attracted worldwide attention...and has many a blogger (like us) re-thinking our negative opinion of the polarizing legislative body.  The law?  As of April First 2012, it is illegal in Israel for magazines, billboards and TV ads to show any images of underweight fashion models.

The provocative new law is aimed at fighting anorexia in Israel.  Just to clarify...Israelis are not any more anorexic than any other nation...there's no outbreak of skeleton-thin-waifs invading Tel Aviv! Nope, it seems all industrial countries have about the same rate of anorexia: Around 2% of all girls aged 14 -18 are severely undernourished by choice.  RACHEL ADATO, the legislator who introduced the ordinance, is proud that Israel is the first nation to pass such a radical law.  She feels the new law shows to the rest of the world that the fashion industry is "out of control" and "needs to be regulated." 

Adi Neumman can't meet the new rules.
The real problem here is how to go about enforcing such a vague concept.  What is considered underweight?  How does one go about determining who is 'skinny' and who isn't?  Two years ago, fashion shows in Madrid and Milan were the first to attempt to do so.  They used the BMI (Body Mass Index) as a standard.  They issued a decree stating that all catwalk participants with a BMI lower than 18 will be banned.  This means a woman who is 5'8" (150 cm) should weigh no less than 120 pounds (54 kg).  The Israeli law goes even further.  Before any photos of a model can be displayed, she must submit a detailed medical report to Israeli authorities, documenting their nutritional health by WHO standards.   

So...what do you do if you're a current Israeli fashion model who is six feet tall and who weighs 90 pounds?  Are you out of a job?  Meet ADI NEUMMAN, a top swimsuit model who doesn't meet the new requirements.  She says she's perfectly healthy and naturally tall and thin.  "Force actual tests" Neumman said.  "Make girls go to a doctor. Get a system to follow girls who are found to be puking."   While Adi does have a valid point, we must remember that we are talking about a small percentage of the population.   Only 5% of all women...of any height... have BMI that naturally falls under 18.5.

Poor Luisa Ramos.
Currently, there are about three hundred professional Israeli models, and most of them are quite wealthy.  It's true: there will be few victims from the law, but...hopefully...there will be lots of girls worldwide who will benefit from having a more realistic view of what women should look like.  However, this blog is still too late for Uruguayan model LUISEL RAMOS.  She fell off a catwalk runway a couple years ago and died from complications from severe bulimia.  "On the one hand, maybe we'll hurt a few models," Adato said. "On the other hand, we'll save a lot of children."