Fourteen women, aged 74 to 97, have competed in a beauty pageant for Holocaust survivors. The pageant is stirring controversy, with organizers calling it "a celebration of life".
The 14 women were chosen from almost 300 applicants and were judged on their personal stories of survival and their later contributions to local communities across Israel. Physical appearance only contributed to about 10 percent of the criteria, reported BBC News.
Critics have denounced the contest as offensive. Colette Avital, chairwoman of Israel's leading Holocaust survivor's umbrella group told Associated Press, "It sounds totally macabre to me. I'm in favor of enriching lives, but a one-time pageant masquerading (survivors) with beautiful clothes is not what is going to make their lives more meaningful."
Hava Hershkovitz, 79 was eventually crowned "Miss Holocaust Survivor". She told BBC News of her experience with the pageant, "It's not easy at this age to be in a beauty contest, but we're all doing it to show that we're still alive."
Ms. Hershkovitz who is originally from Romania, spent three years in a detention camp in the Soviet Union, reported Spiegel Online.
There are nearly 200,000 holocaust survivors living in Israel today.