LONDON (Nov. 18)
Most of the Arab countries failed to enter contestants in the Miss World beauty contest held here last week because they were certain that the Israeli entry, Miri Zamir, would win and this would have been “a major national catastrophe” for the Arabs had they competed, the London newspaper “People” reported yesterday. Miss Israel came out third in the event and eight Arab diplomats who had each bet $120 on her to win lost their money, “People” reported. According to the paper, the Arabs considered Miss Israel the prettiest entry and most polished of the contestants and their experts were sure she would win or emerge one of the runners-up. The official reason for the absence of an Arab entry was that Islam forbids girls to display themselves before strange men.