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Israel is bowing out of the Miss Universe contest after canceling the Miss Israel competition that has been held for 70 years because it has been deemed irrelevant, the Times of Israel reported.

The competition had come under fierce criticism in recent years for objectifying women.

The cancellation also drew mixed responses from past winners, many of whom launched careers as a result of the competition.

Sella Sharlin, Miss Israel 2019, said the contest provides “a platform and a place for women to lead, to initiate, and not necessarily to talk about beauty.” She added that following her win she was able to found a group of associations that assist youth with financial education.

Still, she admitted that changes could have been made in the competition, such as removing the swimwear section of the contest and placing more emphasis on “standing in front of an audience, speaking, leading things, giving space to female power.”

Sivan Klein, the 2003 winner, backed the cancelation, saying that competition was outdated and “shallow.”

“It asks smart questions of smart women, in a bikini,” she added. “It places a crown on the head and at the same time, a ceiling.”

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