In an unusual display of coexistence emanating from a divided Middle East, the Miss Universe international beauty pageant, the contestants from Israel and Iraq, which are officially enemies, posed together for selfies they posted to Instagram and Facebook.
“Get to know, this is Miss Iraq and she’s amazing,” enthused Miss Israel Adar Gandelsman in her Instagram post. “Practicing bringing world peace,” she wrote on Facebook, in time-honored beauty queen style.
“Peace and Love from Miss Iraq and Miss Israel,” wrote Miss Iraq Sarah Idan on her instagram post, followed by heart emojis.
Both had well over 1,000 likes on the photo-based social network as of Tuesday evening.
The warm greetings of the two women could land Idan in hot water.
A 2015 selfie that put then-Miss Israel Doron Matalon in the same photo with then-Miss Lebanon Sally Greige led to calls to strip Greige of her title. It is illegal for Lebanese citizens to have contact with the Jewish state.
“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.”
Lebanese critics of Greige pointed to Matalon’s service in the IDF.
Israel’s Adar Gandelsman, 19, from Ashkelon, is currently in the middle of her military service, “and is passionate about her duties with the force,” the Miss Universe website relates.
Luckily for the 27-year-old Baghdad-born Idan, she now lives in the US, according to her website profile, and so may be freer to associate with Israelis at the pageant than other Arab contestants.
Both Gandelsman and Idan are at the Planet Hollywood resort in Las Vegas preparing to join the roughly 100 women who will be competing in the 66th Miss Universe competition at the casino resort on November 26.