In a letter to the foreign ministry last week, IDF spokesman Yoav Mordechai complained that casting Raefaeli -- who never served in the Israeli military -- sent the wrong message to young people in Israel, where all women over 18 are required to serve for two years.
“I wanted to direct your attention to the negative message this sends to Israeli society by the use of Bar Refaeli, who did not serve in the IDF, as an official representative of Israel in a campaign abroad,” Mordechai wrote in the letter.
"In recent years, the IDF has been trying a variety of methods to improve the value of military service and to combat draft evasion in order to preserve the moral dimension whereby the IDF is the people’s army."
According to the Huffington Post, the 27-year-old Refaeli first claimed that service would ruin her career, then took advantage of a loophole by marrying a family friend, apparently divorcing him as soon as her exemption went through.
“Refaeli is considered one of the most beautiful women in the world and is widely recognized as an Israeli,” the foreign ministry said in response to the backlash. “There is no reason to bring up the past when it comes to a campaign of public diplomacy of this kind.”
Refaeli told Israel's Channel 2 that she wasn't "losing any sleep" over the controversy, later tweeting, “You can use the clip for the Foreign Ministry or drop it, but my Instagram feed has more readers than Israel’s most popular newspaper [Yedioth Ahronoth]!”