They’re paratrooper instructors, Air Force operators, squad instructors and logistic specialists. That’s right – this year, six of 20 nominees for the Miss Israel pageant are IDF (Zahal) soldiers.

Miss Israel 2013: Soldiers and Beauty Queens

Miss Israel 2013 IDF (Zahal) nominees (Photo Credit: Tom Bickels, Bamahane)

Sgt. Gaya Shukun, one of the nominees, sees her participation in the competition as a mission. “I have a feeling that a lot of the models join the competition because they want to represent their country. Now that I’m in the army, I have a better insight into the real Israel. I see how badly we’re portrayed in the international arena, and as an IDF (Zahal) soldier, I feel a responsibility to better explain what really happens here.”

Miss Israel 2013: Soldiers and Beauty Queens

Miss Israel 2013 nominee (Photo Credit: Tom Bickels, Bamahane)

Sgt. Adi Levy says that her fellow soldiers are all behind her. “When I got into the competition, my commanders were really supportive. Their encouragement is something I really appreciated.”

We wish all contestants good luck.

Source: Elad Shpindel & Noa Amiel Lavie, Bamahane