TEL AVIV – In a rare move of solidarity, the Miss Universe contestants from Israel and Iraq posed together for selfies they posted to their respective Instagram accounts.
“Get to know, this is Miss Iraq and she’s amazing,” gushed Miss Israel Adar Gandelsman on Instagram. She arrived in Las Vegas for the pageant set to begin on November 26.
On Facebook she employed classic beauty pageant tropes, posting, “Practicing bringing world peace.”
“Peace and Love from Miss Iraq and Miss Israel,” Miss Iraq Sarah Idan posted on her Instagram post.
The post had garnered a few thousand likes as of Tuesday.
In 2015, then-Miss Israel Doron Matalon posted a photo alongside Miss Lebanon, Sally Greige, and two other beauty queens during the Miss Universe pageant to her Instagram account, sparking outrage in Lebanon that almost forced Greige to forfeit her title.
Greige defended herself by saying Matalon constantly harassed her into taking a picture with her.
“From the first day I arrived at the Miss Universe pageant I was very careful not to take any pictures with Miss Israel, who tried repeatedly to take pictures with me,” Greige wrote. “While I was preparing with Miss Slovenia and Miss Japan to get our photograph taken, Miss Israel jumped in and took a selfie with her phone and posted it on social media.”
In August, the winner of a Lebanese beauty pageant was stripped of her crown a week after winning the contest when it was discovered she visited Israel last year.
Swedish-Lebanese Amanda Hanna won Miss Lebanon Emigrant 2017 but when organizers discovered she had used her Swedish passport to travel to Israel on an academic visit in 2016 they revoked her title.
“After communicating our decision with Lebanon’s Minister of Tourism, he decided that Hanna should be stripped of her title because her visit to Israel violates our country’s laws,” a statement given by the Festival of Lebanese Emigrants in Dhour Al Choueir to the newspaper Al Modon read.
Lebanese citizens risk jail time for contact with Israelis. The country also boycotts any products from Israel. Earlier in the year, Lebanon decided to be the first of several Arab nations to ban the superhero blockbuster Wonder Woman over Israeli actress Gal Gadot’s starring role.
Gandelsman, who is from Ashkelon, dressed as Wonder Woman for a photo shoot for Miss Universe. She is currently a soldier in the IDF.
Barring online attacks, Idan, who hails from Baghdad, will likely not face the same outrage as Greige since she currently resides in the U.S.