Israel bans all foreigners from entering — except "important" Miss Universe contestants

Because of the new coronavirus variant, Omicron, Israel says it is banning all foreigners from entering the country — except, that is, Miss Universe contestants.

"This is an event that will be broadcast in 174 countries, a very important event, an event that Eilat, too, is very much in need of," Tourism Minister Yoel Razvozov said.

And thus the women contestants of the upcoming Miss Universe — a competition that judges women almost entirely on their looks and which was owned by Donald Trump for almost 20 years until his creepiness finally forced him out in 2015 — are getting waivers, allowing them to remain in Israel to participate in the beauty pageant starting December 12.

From Reuters:

Israel will host the Miss Universe beauty pageant in the Red Sea resort of Eilat on Dec. 12 despite imposing travel restrictions to try to stave off the Omicron coronavirus variant, Tourism Minister Yoel Razvozov said on Sunday. …

"We will know how to manage this event. So, by using the waivers committee, we will have events like this, to which the country already committed itself and cannot cancel."

Briefing a parliamentary committee, senior health ministry official Sharon Alroy-Preis said Israel was putting together a safety plan for Miss Universe and could limit admission to the pageant from countries deemed to be high-risk.

Alroy-Preis sought to play down the planned reimposition of cellphone tracking using technology developed by the Shin Bet counter-terrorism agency. The practice, opposed by privacy watchdogs, had been largely shelved in May 2020.

In an effort to locate possible new Omicron carriers and head off outbreaks, tracking would be carried out on seven people for every confirmed case, she said.