In May, 21-year-old Rotem Rabi was crowned Miss Israel 2017, making her Israel’s contestant for the Miss World beauty contest, to be held in China this December.
A former Air Force medic and native Jerusalemite, Rabi now finds herself representing Israel in more ways than one since her arrival in China last week.
Raised in a traditional, though not strictly observant family, Rabi keeps kosher at all times, even when travelling abroad at locales with minimal access to kosher food.
Speaking with Yediot Ahronot, Rabi noted that her father had become observant, and now identifies with the haredi community.
While in China to prepare for the competition, Rabi found that there is little to no kosher food available, yet refused to compromise her traditions.
“I’m having difficulty with the food,” she said, “almost nothing here is kosher.”
“I’m living on pineapple and cookies, and I hope that the problem will be solved in the next few days.”
Rabi’s adherence to traditional Jewish dietary rules piqued the interest of other contestants, she said, who expressed curiosity about Israel and why she was unable to eat most of the food.
“The people there are fascinated that [I’m Israeli], especially from the fact that I live in Jerusalem. Everyone gets excited and tells me how they know about Israel.”
“When I explained to them why I can’t eat the food we get served, they were all quite fascinated. But I feel like they don’t really understand still why it is so important for me to keep kosher.”