Miss Israel beauty pageant canceled after over 70 years
Israel's pageant was recently criticized for judging women only on their physical appearance
For the first time since 1950, the Miss Israel beauty pageant will not take place this year – therefore, the Jewish state will not send a contestant to the international Miss Universe contest to be held in January in the United States.
The decision by the organizers of the Israeli competition – discreetly announced last week – aroused many reactions, some deploring the event’s end while others rejoiced.
In recent years, the pageant has been criticized on the grounds that women are only judged on their physical appearance.
Sella Sharlin, who was crowned Miss Israel in 2019, told 103FM radio on Friday, "I think the pageant today offers a lot of opportunities for whoever is crowned."
She said that winning the contest enabled her, among other things, to give talks and start a group of associations that deal with the financial education of young people:
"This competition provides a platform for women to lead, initiate, and not necessarily to talk about beauty," she said.
Sharlin, who was on the jury for last year’s pageant, suggested changes could have been made to the contest, such as dropping the "swimwear" event. She acknowledged that changes were already made to reflect the change in mindset, but that they were insufficient.
Last year, Israel hosted the Miss Universe pageant in the southern resort city of Eilat, which was won by Miss India Harnaaz Sandhu.