Miss Universe hopefuls enjoyed a day out at the Dead Sea after arriving in Israel ahead of the pageant, which will be held amid tightening Covid-19 restrictions.
Beauty queens from some 80 countries will take part in preliminary rounds this week ahead of the live final in Eilat on December 12.
On Saturday Israel announced it would ban foreigners from entering the country, lengthen quarantines for citizens and residents returning from abroad and reinstate controversial cellphone surveillance designed to track infections.
However the Miss Universe contestants were granted waivers to be able to enter the country without any need to quarantine.
Plenty to celebrate! Miss Universe finalists pose for a group shot on the banks of the Dead Sea on a day out on Saturday. They have arrived in the country ahead of the final next week, which is taking place despite tightening Covid-19 restrictions
Fun in the sun! Three beauty queens pose for photos on the day trip, which was followed by lunch at an upmarket restaurant
DIY beauty: The pageant hopefuls smeared their bodies with mud from the Dead Sea as they let loose together on the beach
Here we are! The Miss Universe contestants, pictured, were granted permission to enter Israel despite a ban on foreigners
Finding their light: Some of the beauty queens made the most of the opportunity and held impromptu photo shoots, pictured
Skincare saviour: Several queens made the most of being at the Dead Sea, where the sand has coveted beauty properties
Kicking back! The Miss Universe hopefuls float in the Dead Sea as they share a light-hearted moment on their day out
Here they come! One beaming queen led the way as the group arrived on the beach for a few hours of relaxation
Tourism Minister Yoel Razvozov suggested the beauty queens might be subject to PCR tests every 48 hours, although it is not clear if the scheme went ahead.
Miss France, Clémence Botino, has been forced to quarantine for 10 days in a government hotel after testing positive for Covid-19 on arrival. It is thought she will be released in time to compete in the live show.
Today the beauty queens donned their swimsuits and bikinis for a photo shoot at the Dead Sea, before enjoying lunch at a high-end restaurant. Earlier they took part in a promotional visit to the headquarters of Israeli national airline El Al.
The women arrived with face masks in their hands but did not wear them as they frolicked on the beach and enjoyed DIY mud baths. Social media footage shows they also did not wear masks when travelling to the coast.
Plenty of practice! Showcasing their pageant skills, the beauty queens pointed and posed on the outing to the Dead Sea
Sensational in swimwear: One of the Miss Universe contestants flicked her hair from her face (left), another jumps for joy
Here come the girls! One-shoulder swimsuits, cut-out one-pieces and skimpy bikinis were all on show at the Dead Sea
Working the camera: The queens posed on the sand (left) and flicked water to create Instagram-worthy shots at the Dead Sea
Best foot forward: A Miss Universe contestant runs through the shallows on the day out to promote the Dead Sea region
But first, let me take a selfie: A Miss Universe contestant couldn’t miss the photo opportunity, while others chatted together
Announcing the decision to grant Miss Universe contestants waivers, Mr Razvozov said: ‘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,’ he told reporters before the weekly cabinet meeting.
‘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 last week, 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.
Breathtaking backdrop: The Miss Universe hopefuls will promote a number of areas of Israel on their visit to the country
Helping hand: Two Miss Universe contestants rubbed mud on each other’s bodies on the group outing to the Dead Sea
Give me five! Some of the group got playful on their visit, smearing each other’s body with sand from the Dead Sea
Beaming queens: Two Miss Universe contestants in daring black bikinis flashed a smile for the camera on the day out in Israel
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.
‘We’re talking about surgical use,’ she said. ‘We’re not talking about thousands of people.’
All out glamour! Some of the Miss Universe contestants who have arrived ahead of the final next Sunday night