Playboy Magazine Headed for Israel

Jan 17, 2013 9:00 AM PST

TEL AVIV, Israel — Playboy magazine is headed for the Holy Land — and with a woman as editor-in-chief.

The iconic magazine will reportedly make its debut in Israel later this year.

According to Haaretz, 37 year-old U.S. attorney and entrepreneur Daniel Pomerantz got worked up over the idea during a pilgrimage to Israel and secured the local rights to the publication along with several U.S. partners who’ve invested a million dollars in the launch.

Pomerantz was surprised to learn that there was no local edition of the magazine he knew from his native Chicago.

“I went to my friends at Playboy and I told them that there was no such magazine in Israel. They referred me to their international department to talk to them, and then they made me an offer to bring out the magazine in Hebrew,” Pomerantz said.

“We went to Hefner’s estate with the Israeli team to learn from the Playboy experts,” Pomerantz added. “Hefner was very excited that there was a word [for bunny— “shfananat”] in Hebrew — it proved that there is a cultural link between the Playboy brand and Israeli culture."

Pomerantz is CEO of the new venture. An editor-in-chief, deputy editor, designer, vice president of marketing and a business development manager are also already on board.

“The magazine will be a mix of local and international content. The first part of the magazine will combine all the leisure areas that appeal to men, like gadgets, styling and food, whatever interests the Israeli man and will give him a taste of the good life,” editor-in-chief Neta Jakobovitz-Keider said.

“The second part will include our feature, investigative and color pieces on such topics as culture, society and sports. There will also be a whole section dealing with politics, economics, opinion pieces and criticism,” she added. “American Playboy is now reprinting pieces from its 50 years of interviews with presidents, intellectuals, actors, and Nobel Prize winners — and we’ll publish them.”

But of course there will be skin.

Jakobovitz-Keider said the women featured in the traditional centerfold — a nude photo across the magazine’s center spread — would be Israeli.

The magazine’s staff is already in bed with major modeling agencies and has uploaded a website on the Playboy domain inviting Israeli women to be photographed. Covers will feature famous Israeli women, and the staff is negotiating with several local celebrities.

“Appearing in this magazine will be an opportunity for local models and photographers to get international exposure, because [other Playboy editions] will also be taking content from us,” Jakobovitz-Keider said.

Despite the enthusiasm, there’s some question as to whether the magazine will be welcomed in the Holy Land. Other men’s magazines do exist, like “Blazer” that does contain nudity, but the Israeli Playboy is poised to be more daring.

Although the new publisher has no journalism experience he has schooled himself about the business of magazines and porn, and isn’t concerned about the decline of print magazines nor Internet dominance of porn.

“We’ve done surveys in Israel and discovered that 88 percent of our target audience, men aged 25-35, read magazines; 93 percent of them recognize the Playboy brand, and 3 percent of them even buy the American edition,” he told Haaretz. “If magazine reading is still so popular, then print isn’t really dead. Besides that, we will be working on all the platforms in Israel; we will also be very active on the Internet and social media, so our audience will be able to connect with us any way they choose.”

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