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Model Bar Refaeli’s mother granted early release from prison

Tzipi Refaeli has served half of her sentence for tax evasion; originally given 16 months, she’ll be released on May 22

Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli, left and her mother Tzipi Refaeli arrive for a court hearing at the Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court, September 13, 2020. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli, left and her mother Tzipi Refaeli arrive for a court hearing at the Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court, September 13, 2020. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Bar Refaeli’s mother, Tzipi Refaeli, was granted early release from prison by the Israel Prison Service’s parole board on Tuesday, following a recommendation by the State Attorney’s Office.

Refaeli has served seven months in Neve Tirtza women’s prison in Ramle for tax evasion. Originally sentenced to 16 months, Refaeli will be released on May 22 — halfway through her original sentence.

After her release, she will be required to attend a rehabilitation program, where she will meet with a social worker once a week and attend a support group for women convinced of similar offenses, Channel 13 reported.

She will also perform community service at a center for children with disabilities.

Israeli top model Bar Refaeli, center, wearing a face mask at court along with her mother, Tzipi, left, her father, Raffi, center, and lawyers, in Tel Aviv, Israel, July 20, 2020 (AP Photo/Oded Balilty, Pool)

A source from the State Attorney’s Office explained the reasons behind Refaeli’s release to Channel 12 News: “This is her first prison term, she has shown very good behavior in prison and has undergone treatment procedures as required. In addition, she has a rehabilitation program set up.”

Two months ago, Refaeli filed for a pardon after contracting the coronavirus in January. It was rejected by the Pardons Department of the Justice Ministry. Her family said she was at serious risk due to her heart condition.

Tzipi Refaeli (Screen capture: YouTube)

Both mother and daughter were sentenced in September, ending a prolonged tax evasion case that had sullied the image of a once-beloved national icon.

Bar Refaeli, 35, began serving her nine-month community service sentence in September. She was placed at the Beit Noam school in Kiryat Ono, an educational center for severely disabled adults where they can continue learning after the state-funded special education system cuts out at age 21.

Both were convicted in July of offenses of evading paying taxes on income nearing $10 million.

According to a a plea bargain accepted by the court, the two were each ordered to pay a NIS 2.5 million ($1.5 million) fine on top of millions in back taxes owed to the state.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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