a different side of Israel

Israel’s next top model: a nice Muslim girl

Niral Karantinji, winner of the Israeli reality show “The Models”

The second season of The Models, Israel’s version of America’s Next Top Model, just ended with a bang and a ton of publicity. The winner of the contest is Niral Karantinji (Hebrew Wikipedia entry on Niral here), a 20 year-old Arab-Israeli Muslim woman from Haifa.

Besides all the challenges of the competition itself, the stunning young woman had to deal with a lot of controversy connected with her ethnicity. One of the competitors, an Ethiopian-Israeli woman named Mimi Tadesa, didn’t like Niral at all. Whilst cat fights between young women in a modeling competition are normal, it is perhaps less normal for one competitor to call the other “a terrorist” – as Mimi reportedly called Niral.

Niral also had to deal with criticism in her own community. Her parents were not at all happy to see her drinking alcohol, which is forbidden to Muslims, on one episode of the show. They – and quite a few other Muslim Israelis – were also very displeased to see Niral posing topless in another episode.

On the other hand, as an Arab-Israeli DJ from Haifa said in a mini-documentary about Niral that was broadcast one week after her victory, it’s not fair to put the expectations of the entire community on the shoulders of one individual. If you don’t like what you see, turn off the television. Don’t look. She represents only herself, and more power to her.


  1. “She represents only herself, and more power to her.” I’ll second that! She is beautiful.

  2. Niral is realy brave to do what she did, inspite
    of her family and community objections and
    displeasure,being a Muslim model is not a simple
    task, I hope she’ll make it,after all she wants
    to be free and on her own.

  3. Mimi the Ethiopian model should be ashamed of
    herself, insulting Niral instead of competing
    fairly,and may the best win.

  4. “Posing Topless”!
    Here in the US, if even a little bit of female breast get shown on TV (see last year’s Super Bowl half-time show) all the proper folks faint like some Victorian Lady who has been indecently propositioned!

  5. so being treated as meat, like a cow, is “liberation”? how ppl treat their women is unamusing. thanks, but no thanks. i love my womanly curves, and i’m only showing to my husband. i don’t need to fulfill western desire for nudity. when i see you, i want my clothes on. thanks.

  6. hm… shes not.. that pretty :S

  7. It’s sad that our cultures still teach women that there value is in their physical appearance. I appreciate that it take bravery for a muslim woman to work as a model, but it’s rather upsetting to read a message like tatjana’s, above, saying, “hmm, she’s not that pretty”. no matter what women do, they are constantly judged by how they look. and these kinds of contests only glorify and perpetuate that. woman of all sizes and looks: celebrate your natural bodies!

  8. wel, I dont know her but she is relative to me some how!
    A agree a litte she is not THAT pretty, but she got curage xP

    and she is a muslim. lol! to be a muslim is realy nothing these days.
    And where is youre repsect showing youre self topless(not that THAT is new) any way I dont like topp model not the Isales one, not the english one and NOT the norwigan one(where I live :S)

    =) xD

  9. what is the surname of the blonde christine/kristine???

    please mail me with answer!!

  10. I read about Muslims, and you disgust me. How dare you put this up as a “nice Muslim girl” she’s half naked. You make your religion look lenient towards how women cover up. Muslims are modest and you are disturbing to the human eye.

  11. lol, its better then the usual muslima covered with sheets 🙂

  12. Justin Eckstein

    April 26, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    Why is it that Muslims claim Moses was a prophet and the 10 Commandments given to Moses by OUR HEAVENLY FATHER on Mount Sinai clearly gives OUR HEAVENLY FATHER’s Commandment not to kill while they believe in killing those who will not convert, and killing for other various reasons under Shari’a Law? Do Not Kill; there are no ifs, ands, or buts. OUR HEAVENLY FATHER, who created all in Heaven and on Earth, made that Commandment expressly clear. Any prophets to come along later have supported all those Commandments given by OUR HEAVENLY FATHER. OUR HEAVENLY FATHER is greater than absolutely everyone and absolutely everything. Do Not Kill; there are no ifs, ands, or buts. We apparently are not to kill others; that is not our purpose. Supposedly Mohammed said something different. So either Mohammed agreed with those Commandments and didn‘t actually say what he supposedly said, or Mohammed wasn’t a prophet. And if Mohammed agreed that those Commandments came from OUR HEAVENLY FATHER, then Mohammed didn’t try to argue with them or change them to fit his own agenda. Maybe that ‘Book Burning’ in the 7th century A.D. (C.E.) wasn’t just to ‘standardize’ but to ‘cover-up’ the Truth. I’m not trying to argue religion here; or trying to argue doctrine. It just does not make any sense. If Christians and Jews killed people as Muslims kill people, then most of the world would kill each other off. Do Not Kill; there are no ifs, ands, or buts. May OUR HEAVENLY FATHER’s Will Be Done.

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