Israel reportedly seeking to host upcoming Miss Universe pageant
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Israel reportedly seeking to host upcoming Miss Universe pageant

While organizers have met with Israeli producers hoping to host competition, there are complications over budget and Muslim and Arab countries’ participants

Contestants congratulate new Miss Universe Catriona Gray, center, from the Philippines during the final round of the 67th Miss Universe competition in Bangkok, Thailand on December 17, 2018.(AP/Gemunu Amarasinghe)
Contestants congratulate new Miss Universe Catriona Gray, center, from the Philippines during the final round of the 67th Miss Universe competition in Bangkok, Thailand on December 17, 2018.(AP/Gemunu Amarasinghe)

A pair of Israeli producers have been in talks with the organizers of the Miss Universe pageant as part of their effort to bring the next edition of the beauty competition to the Jewish state, the Israel Hayom daily reported Saturday.

Danny Ben Naim and Assaf Belcher, who were both involved in bringing Madonna to perform at this past year’s Eurovision in Tel Aviv, have met several times with Miss Universe Organization staff both in New York as well as in Israel.

The pageant organizers have expressed interest in holding the competition in Israel, according to the Hebrew daily. However, Ben Naim and Belcher will likely have to clear several hurdles in order to pull off hosting the event.

Until the next coalition is formed after the September 17 elections, the government will remain in transitional mode, and the approval of a budget for such an event may be beyond its scope.

Moreover, as opposed to the Eurovision Song Contest — in which 41 countries with official ties to Israel participated — in the Miss Universe pageant over 100 countries send a contestant, among them many Arab and Muslim countries which do not have official diplomatic ties to the Jewish state or are openly hostile.

“The intention is to hold the competition here already this year, but at the same time, the option to hold the competition here in 2020 is also being considered,” a source with knowledge of the efforts told Israel Hayom.

US President Donald Trump owned the Miss Universe Organization from 1996 to 2015.

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