20/06/2012 11:33 BST | Updated 20/06/2012 17:44 BST

Miss Large Israel: 'Fat And Beautiful' Beauty Pageant For Women Weighing Over 176lbs (PICTURES, VIDEO)

Vered Fisher (centre) was crowned this year's Miss Large Israel

A 22-year-old weighing almost 250lbs has taken the crown in Israel’s annual Fat and Beautiful contest.

Vered Fisher, who is this year’s Miss Large Israel, beat off stiff competition from 15 other women.

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Entrants to the event in Beersheva, southern Israel, which is now in its 20th year, must weigh over 176lbs.

Scroll down for video and more pictures

Contestants must weigh over 176lbs to enter

Esterica Nagid, a modelling agent and the contest’s sponsor, told Reuters: “There’s no difference between skinny and fat.

“Nobody said only thin girls are beautiful. I am not encouraging fat but if it exists, then this is the place for it.”

Miss Fisher said: “Stay this way because you are pretty as you are and you can succeed as you are.”

In March Israel banned the use of underweight models in advertising, under new legislation, which also forces magazines and papers to make it clear when they have used air-brushing.

Photo gallery Israel's Miss Large Beauty Pageant See Gallery