Dozens of glistening competitors took the stage for an annual body building and fitness competition in Tel Aviv last week. But behind the scenes, machismo made way for cooperation.

In this Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018 photo, contestants get ready backstage during the National Amateur Body Builders’ Association competition in Tel Aviv, Israel. Dozens of glistening competitors took the stage for the annual body building and fitness competition last week. But behind the scenes, machismo makes way for cooperation. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

Just short of 80 contestants participated in 14 categories at this year’s Israel’s National Amateur Body Builders’ Association competition.

In this Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018 photo, a contestant flexes for the judges during the National Amateur Body Builders’ Association competition in Tel Aviv, Israel. Just short of 80 contestants participated in 14 categories at this year’s competition. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

Backstage, the mood was one of camaraderie. In the run up to the flex-off, Jews and Arabs, male and female, young and old from around the country, worked together ahead of the big show.

In this Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018 photo, contestants have their body painted backstage during the National Amateur Body Builders’ Association competition in Tel Aviv, Israel. Just short of 80 contestants participated in 14 categories at this year’s competition. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

“There is no politics whatsoever in the sport,” said Yoni Hanna, president of the Israeli chapter of the National Amateur Body Builders’ Association.

In this Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018 photo, a contestant has his body painted backstage during the National Amateur Body Builders’ Association competition in Tel Aviv, Israel. In the run up to the flex-off, men and women, young and old, Jews and Arabs from around the country worked together to get ready for the big show. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

Exhausted from weeks of strict dieting and last-minute exertions, the muscle-bound athletes primped, painted and prepped before taking the stage. Some waited over eight hours for their chance to strut their stuff before the panel of judges.

In this Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018 photo, contestants get ready backstage during the National Amateur Body Builders’ Association competition in Tel Aviv, Israel. In the run up to the flex-off, men and women, young and old, Jews and Arabs from around the country worked together to get ready for the big show. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

This year’s men’s winner, 25-year-old Or Magdasi of Tel Aviv, beamed, veins bulging, as he lifted his trophy. Isabell Svatovich was awarded her second consecutive championship in the competition.

In this Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018 photo, contestants participate in the final round during the National Amateur Body Builders’ Association competition in Tel Aviv, Israel. Dozens of glistening competitors took the stage for the annual body building and fitness competition in Tel Aviv last week. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

Magdasi will get a shot at representing Israel at the 2019 Mr. Universe competition in the United Kingdom.

In this Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018 photo, contestants wait for their performance backstage during the National Amateur Body Builders’ Association competition in Tel Aviv, Israel. Just short of 80 contestants participated in 14 categories at this year’s competition. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

Hanna, also a former Mr. Israel, says there has been growing interest in fitness and body building in Israel in recent years, and that turnout at this year’s competition far exceeded expectations.

In this Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018 photo, contestants participate in the final round during the National Amateur Body Builders’ Association competition in Tel Aviv, Israel. Just short of 80 contestants participated in 14 categories at this year’s competition. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

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In this Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018 photo, contestants participate in the National Amateur Body Builders’ Association competition in Tel Aviv, Israel. In the run up to the flex-off, men and women, young and old, Jews and Arabs from around the country worked together to get ready for the big show. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

Source: The Associated Press

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