- By Marya HannunMarya Hannun is a Ph.D. student in Arabic and Islamic studies at Georgetown University. Follow her on Twitter at: @mrhannun.
On Wednesday, Playboy will launch the first issue of its Hebrew language edition, at last granting Israelis access to the magazine’s "time-honoured blend of soft-porn and literary gravitas," as the Telegraph put it.
So what will this blend entail? For the magazine’s famous in-depth interview — which in the United States has featured such notables as Jimmy Carter — Playboy talks to Avi Dichter, a former director of the Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic intelligency agency. The flagship issue will also include articles about Steve Jobs and Kobe Bryant, and a photo spread of Israeli model and reality TV star Natalie Dadon.
What’s been particularly entertaining is how Playboy founder Hugh Hefner and Playboy Israel owner and publisher Daniel Pomerantz have described their expansion into the Israeli market. As Pomerantz explained to the Associated Press:
People will see just from the words Playboy Israel that we are a normal country, fashionable, modern, people who work every day with a passion and if you read Playboy magazine you see that it’s not just beauty and fashion but it’s also depth and politics and issues, people who care and think about the world they live in.
Hefner, meanwhile, has extolled the partnership, pointing out that "so many of the core values of the magazine are also the core values of the country."
With the launch, Israel joins a long list of countries that have special editions of Playboy, including Brazil, South Africa, and Russia. Turkey even made headlines in 1985 when it became the first Muslim country to publish a regional version of the magazine. But the expansion didn’t work out so well. The edition has since gone out of print.