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Wednesday, December 01, 2021 

Miss Universe pageant proceeding in Israel with thankfully little opposition by anti-Israelists

Israel's significantly lucky to be able to host the Miss Universe pageant in Eilat this December, and the fortunate part is that, despite the tragic opposition of South Africa's government to their country's representative taking part, the contest is going ahead without any serious backlash by anti-Israeli activists:
I admit that until I accidentally came across a small news item that the South African government has been pressuring its representative to the upcoming Miss Universe beauty pageant, Lalela Mswane, to forego her participation as a sign of protest against Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians, I had forgotten that the pageant was to be held in Eilat. Scheduled for December 13, this is certainly one of the larger and most highly anticipated international competitions. Not on par by any means with the Olympics – summer or winter – or World Cup, it nonetheless commands more attention than the Eurovision competition and will send a clear signal to the world that Israel is more than ready to assume the spotlight position on the world stage.

That Israel was chosen to be the host for this extravaganza mainly due to its highly successful management of the pandemic crisis makes no difference; Israel can only benefit from hosting the festivities. In addition to reminding the world of its iconic position as the Holy Land for three major religions, the panoramic shots of the Mediterranean that millions of viewers will be treated to will most assuredly make this a memorable event.

Not that what has been going on – as well as not going on – is without unexpected oddities. South Africa’s belligerency, for example. I’m not unaware that the country has issues with what it believes is Israel’s “colonial-like treatment” of the Palestinians, but I was surprised that it reached BDS levels. Indeed, that a nation which knows full well what apartheid is should charge Israel of exercising similar policies and deny the Arab population on both sides of the green line human and civil liberties demonstrates a remarkable and unsupported bias.

And while there was some initial and not unexpected protest regarding the selection of Israel as the venue for this popular event, the volume of the noise has, for the most part, been toned down. It would have been reasonable to assume that many nations which have been historically unfriendly or even hostile toward Israel would have used this as a golden opportunity to exert pressure on Jerusalem and insist, as compensation for their participation in the pageant, on the removal of many of its security-related restrictions and that imprisoned terrorists be granted reduced sentences if not outright pardons.
Miss South Africa Lalela Mswane did the right thing to go ahead with the trip to Israel and defy her disgraceful incumbent government's revolting approach to the subject. And it's a good thing that most other nations haven't tried to extort Israel on this issue. Better still:
Such assumptions would have proved premature; it seems that only two countries – Malaysia and Indonesia – have indicated that they object to Israel being selected as the host for the competition on political grounds and will be absent from the competition. Interestingly, two of the nations with which Israel signed normalization agreements – Morocco and UAE – will in fact be sending representatives, despite the seemingly contradiction between beauty pageants and Muslim modesty. The Abraham Accords are resulting in dividends that were not immediately foreseen at the time they were signed.
It's good that despite their being Islamic countries, they're sending contestants to participate. Also good is that neither feminists nor Haredis are making any fuss:
Clearly, Israel’s women’s rights activists have concluded that the overall benefits of having the pageant in Israel far outweigh the negative perceptions that are created and enforced by all competitions in which feminine beauty is being compared. They’re probably not wrong, but their docile acceptance of the pageant being hosted by Israel is still somewhat surprising.

And then we have the haredim. I can’t help but feel that if they were still in the coalition, a ruckus would have been created in protest over allowing the Miss Universe pageant to “sully” the holy atmosphere of Israel. With their leverage no longer viable, activists from Har Nof and Ramat Beit Shemesh have no doubt decided to expend energy on fights that they might have some chance of winning. Which, on the one hand, makes it easier for the pageant’s production team to guard against and prevent disruptions. But, well, it’s not the same without the haredim threatening to bring down heaven’s wrath if what they see as debasing and immoral does not immediately cease. All part of the “new normal,” I suppose.
Let's be clear: of course it would be wrong if these 2 groups made any kind of uproar, no matter where they are in terms of political positions. This is a non-issue, and beauty pageants/swimwear are not incompatible with Judaism. I do wonder though, would they protest if transsexual men tried to infiltrate and rob biological women of a rightful victory? If they wouldn't defend the ladies from gender imposters, that would be wrong too. It's fortunate this doesn't seem to be the case, and no transsexuals are being allowed in for the sake of wokeness, but that doesn't mean it won't happen in the future, and if the Haredis for some are smart, they'll object to that and make sure to defend the ladies in the forseeable future. Certainly for as long as there's Haredi communities around. The feminists would do well to protest the pageant ladies too.

So let's hope this contest goes on this month, and above all, that it not contain any political themes at all. Mexico's Andrea Meza is right when she says it shouldn't be politicized, and that's how it should remain.

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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