On November 13, Sarah Idan, Miss Iraq, posted on her Instagram account a photo taken alongside Miss Israel, along with the caption « Peace and Love », which sparked quite a controversy from some Arab social media users, for Iraq has no diplomatic relations with Israel and it is considered an occupying state.
The photo, taken on the sidelines of the Miss Universe election, harvested thousands of comments both negative and positive. A user said: “You want peace with the enemies, with those who invade lands and murder innocent children.”
Another commented : « Shame on you. You are aware of what they’re doing to our people our mothers and our children. What they’ve done to palestine and the arab countries »
They were also words of encouragement praising the two beauty queens for promoting peace. Among them, Ofir Gendelman Israel Prime Minister’s spokesperson to the Arab media who tweeted:
Miss Iraq Sarah Idan and Miss Israel Adar Gandelsman (no relation…) met at the Miss Universe beauty pageant and became friends. Miss Iraq posted this photo on her Instagram. What a great message of hope for the region. Good luck to both Sarah and Hadar. pic.twitter.com/GV9L9JW7Rg
— Ofir Gendelman (@ofirgendelman) November 14, 2017
Faced with the outcry, the 27-year-old miss issued a statement of « justification » in Arabic. She explained that Miss Israel, Adar Gandelsman, approached me during a photo session: » After kindly greeting me, she asked if we could take a photo together and I agreed because I saw it as an opportunity to express our mutual desire for world peace. Her photo of us received praise, while I only got negative comments,” her statement read.
“This photo does not mean I condone the Israeli government or its policies. I’d like to apologize to anyone who considered this an insult to the Palestinian cause. » Said the young woman.
Miss Israel also posted their mutual photo with a caption: « Get to know, this is Miss Iraq and she’s amazing »