Her parents were both born in Israel , and her grandparents were immigrants from Europe and of Italian-Jewish, Lithuanian-Jewish, and Polish-Jewish descent. Orthodonture at 12 interrupted her modeling until she was 15,  when an Israeli fashion awards ceremony awarded Refaeli "Model of the Year" She also has appeared in advertising campaigns for non-fashion brands such as Garnier Fructis , Samsung , and Subaru.
Refaeli became the second Israeli model to appear in Sports Illustrated magazine after Michaela Bercu , in her debut in its Swimsuit Issue, where she posed with the rock band Aerosmith. In , she modeled for Garnier International. According to Forbes Israel, in she was the highest paid model in Israel, ahead of the combined modelling income of such other Israeli models as Esti Ginzburg , Gal Gadot , and Shlomit Malka.
The film is a psychological thriller that tells the story of a manipulative psychiatrist who becomes obsessed with a new young patient. In , Refaeli played a starring role in the French-Israeli crime-caper film Kidon, a comedy in which she stars as a Mossad assassin involved in liquidating a terrorist.
Refaeli has an ownership stake in a number of fashion companies, such as in the designer glasses manufacturer Carolina Lemke. As well as being its investor, Refaeli runs business development for the venture. On 16 December , Israeli tax authorities in Tel Aviv detained Refaeli and her mother overnight for questioning related to potential tax evasion; she was accused of failing to pay income tax on two vehicles that she received as compensation for posing in pictures with the vehicles, and for evading taxes by disguising her Israeli residency by renting a luxury apartment in Tel Aviv through relatives.
She has said she plans to raise "a big Jewish family" with him. The couple were married in Israel on 24 September At the time model Agam Rudberg said: It's worth trying to serve in the army, and only if you don't feel good there to try and do something.
The two sides reached a compromise in which Refaeli agreed to visit injured IDF soldiers whenever she is in Israel, and actively encourage enlistment in the army. That's just the way it is: I hope my case has influenced the army. It makes no difference to me.
Why is it good to die for our country? What, isn't it better to live in New York? Why should year-old kids have to die? It's dumb that people have to die so that I can live in Israel. Mordechai maintained that the use of Refaeli as an "official representative of Israel" sent a "negative message" to Israeli society.