Jerusalem: ‘Miss Green Line’ pageant tonight

‘Miss Green Line’ pageant tonight
by Tia Goldenberg

The Jerusalem Post
June 15, 2004, Tuesday

Dina Emal of Beit Jala will participate in the first “Miss Green Line”
beauty pageant, Tuesday night in Gilo.

Pageant organizer Azi Neger said it was the recurring violence in the
area – Beit Jala is often used as a base for shooting attacks on Gilo –
that inspired the inclusion of the Arab contestant.

“My goal was to unite girls from Gilo and Beit Jala. I want them to
talk about beauty and fashion and through this to get to know each
other,” said Neger.

He said that since Beit Jala also suffered consequences from the
shootings, its residents should get a chance to participate as well.

Neger said it was a challenge to get permission for Emal to enter
Israel, but he was helped by OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Moshe

Three months ago, Neger began rounding up women from Gilo, Beit Jala,
and Bethlehem to make up the 15 contestants in the pageant.

He said the Arab women he approached were enthusiastic, but somewhat
apprehensive. “I asked the mothers if they wanted their daughters
to join and they were very happy,” said Neger, on his way to pick up
crowns for the pageant in Tel Aviv.

However, “they were afraid that they might get hurt,” while crossing

He said his idea was also spurred by the Gilo participants. “They
said they wanted to meet girls from Beit Jala.”

Most of the participants have met several times and have formed good
relationships, he said.

The other non-Jewish participant, Arpy Krikorian, 21, an Armenian
Christian from Jerusalem’s Old City, said she spends a lot of time
with Jews through her job as a hairdresser, and is looking forward
to spending time with the other Jewish participants.

“It’s a very nice feeling to mingle with other religions,” she said.

Krikorian hasn’t met with Emal because when she was supposed to,
the latter was not permitted to enter Israel.

Krikorian said she didn’t join the pageant to win. “I joined to
prove that if you want to do something, it can be done. You shouldn’t
be afraid.”

Neger, who is one of seven judging the competition, said he will be
happy no matter who wins the crown.

“I hope the pageant will help change the atmosphere to one of

GRAPHIC: Photo: DINA EMAL is the only Arab participant in tonight’s
‘Miss Green Line’ pageant. (Credit: Ariel Jerozolimski/Jp)