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Miss Universe Competition Heads to Israel for 70th Anniversary Edition; Pop Star Noa Kirel to Perform

Delegates from United Arab Emirates and Morocco will participate.

Catriona Gray of the Philippines waves to the audience after being crowned the new Miss Universe 2018 during the final round of the 67th Miss Universe competition in Bangkok, Thailand, Monday, Dec. 17, 2018.(AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)

The Miss Universe Competition will hold its 70th edition in Israel on Dec. 12, the Miss Universe Organization, the Israeli Ministry of Tourism and the city of Eilat announced today (Oct. 26).

In a competition first, United Arab Emirates will participate in the pageant, and Morocco returns for the first time in 40 years.

Israel has been leading in vaccinations for COVID-19, allowing for the staging of a massive international event at the city sandwiched by borders with Egypt and Jordan.

The organization is importing a “state-of-the-art, bespoke arena” from Portugal, with 5,000 seats and dimensions of 16.5 meters in height, per an announcement.

“Despite the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic placed in our path, we knew how to maintain the balance between health and the economy, to bring tourism back to Israel,” said Israeli Tourism Minister Yoel Razvozov. “We needed to create tourism anchors that will promote and present Israel to the world as a vaccination nation that invites tourists to visit. The Miss Universe pageant is without doubt an important and significant anchor of this plan.”

Set to perform at Miss Universe is Israeli pop star Noa Kirel, who is signed to Atlantic Records in the U.S. and just released a scorching new single called “Bad Little Thing.”

Said Kirel: “I’m so excited and honored to be performing at Miss Universe. By believing in themselves and fearlessly chasing their dreams, these women from around the world live and breathe the values of the Miss Universe Organization, and I can’t wait to share this celebratory moment with all of them on this incredible global stage.”

Eilat, on the southern tip of Israel, is a popular tourist destination for those visiting the country and nearby regions.

This year’s Miss Universe focuses on climate change among other social and global issues faced by participants and their countries.

An Israeli has previously won the Miss Universe competition — Rina Messinger, a native of the Haifa area who’s now a lawyer and mom to two daughters of her own, took the crown in 1976.