Tamar Morali, 21, is in the running for the coveted title of Miss Germany 2018 — and according to The Jerusalem Post, pageant organizers told her that a Jewish contestant has never made it this far.
While born in Karlsruhe, Germany, Morali moved to Vienna, Austria when she was young. Her parents wanted her to grow up in a larger community of Jews, and Karlsruhe, she said, had a very small Jewish population. Morali now studies in Israel as a communications and business student.
The beauty queen-hopeful recently walked in Vienna Fashion week and won first place in Look! Magazine’s Look Style Awards. It was here that she was encouraged to apply for the online category of Miss Germany called, "Miss Internet." The winner of this category will join the candidates competing for the Miss Germany title.
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How the Miss Germany and Miss Internet competitions work
According to The Miss Germany Corporation's website, over 4,000 women compete for the crown each year, and there are more than 100 "preliminary decisions." In the end, 22 contestants from different German states — plus the Miss Internet winner — make up the finalists. The 2017 title went to Soraya Kohlmann at age 18.
Miss Internet is currently comprised of 20 women, and voting will be open to the public for the next three weeks to determine which 10 will compete in the final round on January 13.
The grand finale of Miss Germany will take place on Saturday, February 24 at Europa Park, a theme park and resort in Rust, Germany.
Thank you Miss Germany ?? for an amazing weekend with 20 other beyond beautiful and extraordinary girls! Like any journey in life we learn something new about ourselves and what we should do. Like being fearless and have the courage to take risks. To step out of our comfort zone even if it means to feel uncomfortable sometimes and to go somewhere where we first think, there are no guarantees. The first step will always be the hardest but every step after - is totally worth it! Also a huge thanks to the Team - you made this trip to an unforgettable one to each of us ? NEXT GOAL : TOP 10 !!!! ??@pen_fotografie @filiperibeirophotography @inesklemmer @doris_look @missgermany_official @cori_nna90 @webde_news @gmx.de
Why is this such a big deal?
According to Newsweek, the president of Germany's Central Council of Jews, Josef Schuster, announced in July that there are still parts of the country Jewish citizens consider dangerous. He encouraged them not to openly identify themselves in these areas.
In more recent news, Schuster noted at a reception of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) on Wednesday, that recent surveys show “90 percent of Jews perceive anti-Semitism as a very big problem and ... 70 percent avoid carrying any Jewish symbols in public," the Associated Press reports.
One of these studies released by the AJC showed an increase of anti-Semitism in Berlin’s schools, which it tied to an increase in Salafism, a strict form of Islam with anti-Semitic roots.
Despite this and the country’s past with Nazism, Morali told The Jerusalem Post she wants to showcase "the positive, open aspects of today’s German and Austrian societies."
She went on to say that she sees her candidacy representing "a country with a very complex history with regard to the Jewish people" as a "personal achievement" as well as "an achievement for the State of Israel."
Morali says that the Jewish population is "proud to have survived and to have created such a big community," adding that she's also "proud to be a German Jew."
"I’m not saying we should forget the past,” she stressed, “but to find a way that we can all live in peace, and I think this is a good start.”