Slater is on better terms with the surf media than with the Israeli photographers
Police detained eight-time world surfing champion Kelly Slater early Saturday after a scuffle with photographers who were trying to take pictures of him with an Israeli supermodel, police said.
Israeli photographers were waiting outside as the American surfer and model Bar Rafaeli left a hotel in the Tel Aviv suburb of Herzliya before dawn Saturday, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.
Slater pushed the cameramen in an effort to prevent them from taking pictures, a photographer at the scene told Channel Two TV.
“A brawl broke out and Slater was taken for questioning and later released,” Rosenfeld said.
It was not the first time foreign guests of Rafaeli have scuffled with journalists. Earlier this year, Rafaeli and her then-boyfriend, actor Leonardo DiCaprio, created a media storm when he visited her in Israel.
After eluding journalists for days, the pair was met by a group of waiting photographers when they toured Jerusalem. Their bodyguards scuffled with photographers, punching some and damaging equipment.
Rafaeli later told an Israeli newspaper she wouldn’t bring anyone famous to Israel “because there is a chutzpah here that you won’t see anywhere else.”
Slater, who is of Syrian descent, was visiting Israel for the first time as part of efforts by the group “Surfing for Peace” to promote reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians through the sport.
More news on this story as it develops…