Maayan's joy was marred by the absence of her parents. Her mother died when she was just one year old, and her father broke off contact with her and with her bothers. The two siblings were raised by their grandmother, who Maayan calls "mom" and to whom she dedicated her crown.
"I never expected to get this far," she said a moment after the crown was placed on her head. "I saw on ad on Facebook and applied for the competition on my own. Even when I was included among the four finalists, I didn’t believe I would win."
The first runner-up was Avigail Alpatov, an 18-year-old IDF soldier from Acre, who was Israel's fencing champion in 2014 and appeared slightly disappointed by the second place in the beauty pageant.
"I am used to the first place," she admitted. "I won't lie that I wasn't a bit hurt by not winning, but I'm here and I have my crown and my title, and I plan to leverage it in the best way possible."
The winner of the 65th Miss Israel pageant, sponsored by women's magazine Laisha, was announced during a ceremony held at the Reading 3 club at the Tel Aviv Port in front of relatives of the 16 candidates, former beauty queens and senior members of Israel's beauty industry.
It was the first time that the Miss Israel pageant was conducted on the Internet.
About half a million Ynet readers voted for the four finalists out of the 16 candidates after having the chance to view to their pictures for a week, and then voted for the beauty queen and the first runner-up.
The readers' votes were combined with a selection made by a professional panel of judges. The crowning ceremony was broadcast live and exclusively on Ynet.