An image of Miss Iraq and Miss Israel posing together caused a stir online. The two models posed at the Miss International Beauty Pageant in Japan.
Miss Israel’s Adar Gandelsman captioned a picture of herself with Sarah Idan saying: “Get to know, this is Miss Iraq and she’s amazing” and uploaded it to her official Instagram account.
Miss Iraq similarly uploaded a picture and captioned it, “peace and love from Miss Iraq and Miss Israel”.
Iraq and Israel do not have any diplomatic ties currently, therefore the image got some extra attention.
In 2015, Miss Lebanon’s Sally Greige risked losing her title and contestant spot in Miss Universe after a selfie of her and Miss Israel was uploaded.
Lebanon sees Israel as its arch rival and are officially at war. However, she managed to retain her title after claiming that Miss Israel had “photo-bombed” her and posing with her was “unintentional”.
The posts by the two beauty pageant participants have caused mixed reactions online.
This gives me more hope than any politican can. —> Miss Iraq and Miss Israel pose together on Instagram with the caption: peace and love. pic.twitter.com/sDD7cAVbJO
— Brenda StoterBoscolo (@BrendaStoter) November 15, 2017
No, it isn’t a big deal that Miss Iraq took a selfie with Miss Israel. What is a big deal is Miss Iraq being dismissive of the Israeli occupation and treating the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a two way street #missuniverse
— Diana Alghoul 🇵🇸 (@SuperKnafeh) November 16, 2017
One user commented: “You’re both beautiful – especially because you are showing what coexistence looks like!”
Another user posted: “Thank you for sharing this picture with the world. It shows leadership and courage, and a hope for a better tomorrow.”
Some were not okay with the selfie. One user asked: “Those of you placing the Israeli and the Iraqi flag emojis side by side, don’t you know that Iraq is always with justice, never with the oppressor?
Some social media users felt the caption and selfie trivialises the true nature of the Israeli occupation and treats the conflict as one of two equal sides.
In face heavy criticism at home, Miss Iraq defends her photo with Miss Israel a message of peace, but says it doesn’t mean she accepts Israel govt policy.
BTW, she still has pic w/ Miss Israel on her Instagram page. pic.twitter.com/x6MEJFx6Kn
— Dov Lieber (@DovLieber) November 15, 2017
Miss Iraq has defended her act and said it doesn’t signify her support to the Israeli government, nor she accepts the Israeli government’s policies. She explained that it was just an expression of hope and a wish for peace.