JERUSALEM (Jan. 7)
Israel’s financial woes have forced this country to bow out as host to its first Miss Universe contest. The international beauty pageant, scheduled to be held here next summer, will have to find another site because the Treasury balked at allocating $300,000 for the event. Minister of Tourism Moshe Kol was deeply disappointed when he announced cancellation of Israel’s invitation. He had expected the contest to draw record tourist business and maintained it was good propaganda for Israel.
El Al had agreed to cooperate by providing a jumbo jet to bring the contestants to Israel and the Hilton hotel chain offered rooms for them and their retinues. Finance Minister Yehoshua Rabinowitz reportedly supported the idea. But when it came to money, the Treasury suddenly decided that if the event was good for tourism and propaganda it should be paid for out of the Tourism and Foreign Ministry budgets.