When Lilach Ben-Simon returned to her high school this week, she found some 1,600 students, friends and Education Ministry officials waiting to greet her with bated breath.
For Ben-Simon was returning for her senior year with a new title — Miss Europe 1994.
The green-eyed beauty from Ashdod, just weeks short of her 18th birthday, had won the beauty crown as one of 33 contestants at the European beauty contest in Istanbul on Saturday night.
Ben-Simon, who was previously crowned Miss Israel, was persuaded by her boyfriend to go for the jackpot and enter the Miss Europe contest.
Before moving to Ashdod, her family had lived for some 13 years at Kibbutz Mashavei Sadeh in the northern Negev. Her father, Uri, is a manpower manager at a steel factory in Kiryat Malachi, and her mother, Betty, was employed until recently by an American language institute.
Ben-Simon said that while she was thrilled when she was crowned, she was sorry her family was not with her. They stayed behind because her sister was due to give birth any day.
She said her worst day in Istanbul had been Yom Kippur, the first Day of Atonement she had spent alone and away from home. “When all the other girls went in for a festive lunch, I went up to my room and slept,” she said.
Ben-Simon plans to study law after army service and be a fashion model as a hobby.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.