Six of 20 nominees for this years’ Miss Israel pageant are IDF soldiers.
Sgt. Gaya Shukun, one of the nominees, sees her participation in the competition as a mission, the IDF’s official blogger wrote.
“I have a feeling that a lot of the models join the competition because they want to represent their country,” she said.
“Now that I’m in the army, I have a better insight into the real Israel. I see how badly we’re portrayed in the international arena, and as an IDF soldier, I feel a responsibility to better explain what really happens here.”
Sgt. Adi Levy says that her fellow soldiers are all behind her. “When I got into the competition, my commanders were really supportive. Their encouragement is something I really appreciated.”
Second Sgt. Zoe Rousal is even more candid about what the competition means to her. “It doesn’t matter how much s— our country has to eat, every year there will always be a pageant,” she says. “It’s a change from all the wars and the problems . It doesn’t matter what happens, there will always be a beauty queen.”
The armed forces’ women have been good PR for Israel. The United States and other countries have looked to the IDF to understand how women take over positions that once were considered off limits.
The IDF has a women’s combat unit, and a woman is among parachute instructors, while hundreds of others learn technical skills on the college level to make Air Force lanes and missiles are in working order.
One Home Front commander completed the traditional and rugged beret march – while seven months pregnant.
If one of the Miss Israel pageant nominees wins and goes on to the Miss Universe contest, the IDF’s image will improve even more.