The Israeli bikini babe whose racy picture has set tongues wagging from Tel Aviv to New York's Turtle Bay insisted Tuesday that she was just using her assets to improve Israel's war-torn image and didn't intend to offend anyone.

The stunning former Miss Israel and model, Gal Gadot, said she is proud of her sexy photograph — part of a new tourism campaign touted by the Israeli Consulate that showcases a host of scantily clad Hebrew hotties.

"Obviously, I don't think it's pornographic, or I wouldn't have done it," said Gadot, 22, who's starting law school in the fall.

She added, "Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Israel is a democracy and that's what it's all about."

Her picture appeared on an official invitation sent out by the consulate in New York. It touched off an uproar in Israel, where several female politicians denounced it as the wrong way to promote the Jewish state.

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Click here to view pictures of Miss Israel 2004.