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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

February 01, 2003

Beauty, brains and heart: a nice Yiddishe maidel

Is the world ready for the first Sabbath-observant supermodel?

This is a beautiful story about a beautiful Jewish woman.
Havi Mond's journey to work would defeat most veterans of Connex or the M25. She wakes up in Tzefas (Safed), northern Israel, travels for two hours to Tel Aviv, waits for three hours to go through security, flies to London, takes the train down to Brighton, where her grandparents live, and then goes to work as a model.

She's young, she's fresh --- and she is an Israeli whose Orthodox Judaism makes her refuse work on Fridays and Saturdays, avoid non-kosher catering and turn down jobs that require her to wear anything that she, or her parents Peter and Pamela, consider "provocative." Cramping for a model's style, one might think, but apparently not. "It all adds to the intrigue," says Alisa Marks, French Connection's creative director.

But, to me, the most amazing thing about her appearance is that she is dressed like a soldier --- right down to an ammunition bag. Surely a girl who has just completed her national service, who commutes between London and the intifada, whose every lipstick is searched when she leaves home, must have had enough of military khaki?

How did she cope with national service? "I am a religious girl," she explains, "and, until a year ago, religious girls did not do military service - there were problems with the clothes, the boys. So I taught hyperactive children and those from poor neighborhoods and I helped Ethiopians who had just arrived in Israel to learn Hebrew." MORE
What a role model. What an ambassador.