(JTA) – An Israeli beauty queen’s Brazilian roots have put her in the spotlight in local media. Adar Gandelman, who is in Las Vegas ahead of the Miss International Beauty Pageant on Nov. 26, has this month been the subject of a number of positive stories in her parents’ native country. “I have everything from Brazil, the colors, the joy from Brazil,” Gandelman told the Record TV channel in an interview at her home in Israel’s southern coastal city of Ashkelon. “I think I am more Brazilian than Israeli.”
Gandelman, 19, was born one year after her Brazilian-Jewish parents Azril and Ana moved to Israel in 1997 from Recife, the Brazilian city that is home to the oldest synagogue of the Americas, the Kahal Zur Israel. “She will represent Israel, but her DNA is Brazil’s,” Gandelman’s father declared. The Jewish Alef News referred to Gandelman not as an Israeli native but as the “daughter of pernambucanos,” referring to those born in Brazil’s Pernambuco state.
Brazil’s largest news website, UOL, highlighted Gandelman’s Brazilian heritage and unveiled some personal details about her, including the fact she is currently performing her second year of mandatory service in the Israeli army and dreams of running a fashion brand. Gandelman made headlines last Tuesday for posing with Miss Iraq, Sarah Idan, in a photo that they both posted on Instagram.
“Peace and Love from Miss Iraq and Miss Israel,” Gandelman wrote, adding that Iraq’s beauty queen was “amazing.”