JERUSALEM - Israel is set to host Miss Universe for the first time, staging the televised beauty pageant in the Red Sea resort of Eilat, the tourism ministry said on Tuesday.
"I fully hope that in December we will be celebrating not only the new Miss Universe here in Israel, but most importantly, the end of the world pandemic," Tourism Minister Yoel Razvozov said in a video statement.
The 2020 pageant was cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic, but in May Miss Mexico Andrea Meza was crowned Miss Universe in Florida.
December's pageant will be the 70th in the series. Delegations from around 100 countries are expected in Israel for the event which will be broadcast across the world.
The tourism ministry quoted Miss Universe Organization president Paula M Shugart as saying Israel had been on the shortlist of host countries for years "due to its rich history, beautiful landscapes, myriad of cultures".
The pageant has drawn criticism in the past for objectifying the contestants.
In recent years, it has shifted its image, focusing more on female empowerment and activism. -- Agence France-Presse