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Makeup Magnate’s Bid for Knesset Troubles Feminists

As Pnina Rosenblum, one of Israel’s most talked about celebrities makes her bid for a seat in the Knesset, Israeli feminists have faced a conflict: should they endorse the cosmetics entrepreneur in female solidarity, or should they withhold their support in opposition to the former model’s use of her sexuality in her campaign?

According to a report from Reuters by Janine Zacharia (LILITH’s own former intern), the Israel Women’s Network “only agreed to back Rosenblum after an extensive debate. Some members thought her use of her beauty to get elected was antifeminist,” but ultimately the group expressed its hesitant support. “In principle, we back every woman and so we’ll back her. The fact is that whatever she says, she wants to promote women and whatever she does gets media attention,” the IWN spokeswoman told Reuters.

A familiar figure in the press, the 43-year-old “brown-eyed blonde bombshell” was Israel’s top model in her teens and 20s, and has now become the country’s leading cosmetics entrepreneur, packaging her products in pink and often gracing them with a seductive portrait of herself, Reuters reports. She claims that her mandatory two-year military service lasted only eight months because she was too sexy. “The army decided it would be better without me since everywhere I went, nobody worked,” she said, according to the Reuters story.

Her newly-created party, Tnufah (Booster), seems to adhere to a centrist line and, Zacharia reports, Rosenblum is expected to win one seat.

“Pnina Rosenblum is like Israel’s Madonna in that she took her image as a sex symbol and exploited it for her own empowerment,” Jerusalem Post columnist Calev Ben-David told Zacharia.

And how does Rosenblum think that power would sit in the Knesset? “I think,” she told Reuters, “that many of them would be happy to see something refreshing and new in the Knesset. Besides, I think it’s time they had something pink to look at instead of gray.”