Saly Greige, participating in the Miss Universe competition as Miss Lebanon, apparently angered some of her fans after a “selfie” photo, showing her alongside Miss Israel, made the rounds on social media over the weekend.
Miss Israel, Doron Matalon, posted the photo, taken in Miami at the site of the Miss Universe pageant, to her Instagram account on January 11. It shows a smiling Miss Israel next to Miss Lebanon, Miss Slovenia, and Miss Japan.
Greige took to Facebook Saturday in an attempt to explain the picture, saying Miss Israel forced her way into the shot.
“Since the first day of my arrival to participate to Miss Universe I was very cautious to avoid being in any photo or communication with Miss Israel (that tried several times to have a photo with me)[sic],” Greige wrote. “I was having a photo with Miss Japan, Miss Slovenia, and myself; suddenly Miss Israel jumped in, took a selfie, and put it on her social media.”
Miss Israel responded to the situation on her own Facebook page, saying the controversy stirred up by the photo makes her “sad.”
“It doesn’t surprise me, but it still makes me sad,” Matalon wrote in both English and Hebrew. “Too bad you can put the hostility out of the game, only for three weeks of an experience of a lifetime that we can meet girls from around the world and also from the neighboring country.”
Some social media users commenting on Greige’s post were “sympathetic.”
“No explanations needed Saly,” wrote one commenter. “The politicians and narrow minded people should learn from u. The contest has nothing to do with politics. It has actually everything to do with ‘World Peace.'”
Others went after her for her “bias and ugliness.”
“Too late, the world and the pageant organizers have already seen your bias and ugliness and hopefully it will get you disqualified, what you fully deserve,” wrote another commenter.
Israel fought a war with the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah in 2006, in which more than 1,200 Lebanese and roughly 160 Israelis were killed, according to AFP. The two countries have engaged in occasional cross-border battles since the end of the 2006 conflict.