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Playboy magazine to hit Holy Land in Hebrew

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Iconic men's magazine Playboy is to hit the streets of Israel in Hebrew for the first time on Wednesday, combining scantily-clad Israeli models with articles in the tongue of the Bible.

Spokeswoman Danielle Peters told AFP that the target audience was men "from 25 to 40, mature men who enjoy the good life."

The articles -- which will be read from right to left, like Arabic -- would be a mix of original Israeli writing and translations from US and foreign editions, she said.

"It will be global, global and local," she said. "We'll have a few stories that are global and also local for our target audience."

"The magazine will be very sexy, but it's not about sex," US-born Daniel Pomerantz, the magazine's Israeli publisher told Israeli daily Haaretz in a recent interview.

Playboy's erotic TV channel which is shown on Israeli cable is a separate franchise unrelated to the local magazine.

"It's nothing to do with us," Peters said.

Playboy has grown from the men's magazine founded by Hugh Hefner in 1953 into a global business empire spanning soft pornography, casinos and merchandise branded with its iconic "bunny" logo.

But it remains to be seen whether it will appeal to a relatively young readership which has grown up on the Internet and may be uncomfortable about the magazine's portrayal of women.

Market research says yes, according to Peters.

"We believe in a brand that has proved itself over 60 years in more than 30 editions all over the world. We believe in it," she said.

In a recorded message welcoming the Israeli edition, Hefner said that the Jewish state shared "core values" with the Playboy ethos.

"I'm proud to see Playboy Israel embark on its mission to play an important role in strengthening freedom of speech, freedom of choice and freedom of the press," the Jerusalem Post quoted him as saying.

"I am equally pleased that so many of the core values of the magazine are also the core values of the country, and the society that has so graciously invited us to be a part of its cultural landscape."

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130305/playboy-magazine-hit-holy-land-hebrew