Fearing flames, fire brigade shut down Bar Rafaeli event

Cnaan Liphshiz

(JTA) — Israeli fire fighters cancelled an event featuring the super model Bar Rafaeli amid complaints that it was unsafe and damaging to nearby businesses.

The opening of a new store in the Urbanica chain, which Rafaeli is promoting, was scheduled to take place Thursday at the largest shopping mall of Be’er Sheva in Israel’s south but was cancelled by order of the local fire brigade on grounds that organizers lacked proper documents. The venue did not have enough fire escapes to accommodate the number of onlookers expected there, the fire brigade said.

The cancellation follows complaints by business owners from the mall over the closure of its parking lot for the event, in connection with Bar’s presence there, nrg.co.il reported. Organizers requested management take this step, citing fears that her attendance would draw too many onlookers.

Rafaeli, 30, is considered Israel’s leading female model, featuring on the cover model of the 2009 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. A former girlfriend of the Hollywood film star Leonardo DiCaprio, she was voted #1 on Maxim magazine’s Hot 100 list of 2012.


But in recent months, Rafaeli has faced criticism in Israel over prosecutors’ allegations that she had evaded paying taxes – which she denies – and the decision to shut down aerial traffic around the Haifa-area venue where Rafaeli had her wedding in September. Amid uproar over what was perceived as preferential treatment, Israel’s transportation minister eventually cancelled the closure.

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