Miss Israel Goes to Africa

Nineteen-year-old Ravit Assaf sees herself as an ambassador for Israel, whether or not she wins the Miss World contest here.

But if this year’s Miss Israel beats out 83 others for the global title Dec. 12, “it would be the best thing that could happen in my life” before pushing on to her next goal.

The Beersheba-born contestant has her eye on law school after army service.

The tall, dark-haired Assaf, who is the only Jewish contestant here, completed high school in Tel Aviv in June. She is the daughter of a Moroccan father and Polish mother.

The beauty pageant is competing with the spectacular setting of the newly opened Lost City resort at this vacation spot 100 miles northwest of Johannesburg.

Its owner is Jewish tycoon Sol Kerzner, who has been a special focus of interest since his creation of the country’s best-known resort and casino in the black homeland of Bophuthatswana.

Kerzner is divorced from a former Miss World, Anneline Kriel-Tucker, who, before her marriage to another Jew, obtained a conversion to Judaism in Switzerland, which the South African rabbinical court has refused to recognize.

Judges of the Miss World competition include actress Joan Collins, best-selling author Sidney Sheldon and New York socialite Ivana Trump.

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