Nazareth lost a queen this month. Zuheira Zouabi, a native of the city, served as the first Miss Lilach. The first contest sponsored by the eponymous women's magazine won attention in the Arab world as a result of the participation of Mouna Haleila, an observant young Muslim woman from Sakhnin. Haleila reached the final round wearing a hijab (traditional covering of the head, hair and neck) and modest clothing. Muslim women's organizations sent her congratulations and she was sent marriage proposals from Saudi Arabia

But in the end Haleila had to surrender the crown to Zouabi. This year, in the hall at the Plaza Hotel in Nazareth, to the voice of Jordanian moderator Asil Harisha, Zouabi handed the crown to the new queen: the blonde Sali Shahab from Shfaram. Shahab, who is only 15, loves dancing and all kinds of music. She defines herself as kind-hearted, ambitious, determined and as a lover of life.

Before the contest the candidates traveled to Jordan and met a jury there from throughout the Arab world. Serving on the jury here in Israel were, among others, Yasser Atilla, the director of programming for Israel Radio in Arabic, and Dr. Mary Haddad, the first woman gynecologist in the Arab sector. They awarded Shahab a monetary prize, a scholarship and, of course, a cover picture on an issue of Lilach.

Although there was only one woman on the local jury, on the stage there was a special mixture of the sexes. Parallel to the beauty contest for women this year, an Ideal Man contest was held under the sponsorship of the newspaper Al Sinara, which owns the women's magazine. The winner is Yamam Hamed, a 16-year-old Druze from Maghar. His deputy is the blue-eyed Mahmoud Dahar, from Nazareth, who was the audience favorite.

According to Vida Mash'oura, the publisher and editor in chief of the magazine, the participation in the two contests was very varied with respect to the contestants' religion and degree of observance. She mentions the parents of Riham Abu Ras of the village of `Ilut, who supported her candidacy despite complaints by observant elements in the village. "In the end the parents very much encourage the girls," says Mash'oura. "If the daughter doesn't win, her father cries more than she does." (Y. B-A.)