In a rare sign of Middle East solidarity, Miss Israel Adar Gandelsman and Miss Iraq Sarah Idan took to social media to put friendship over division ahead of the Miss Universe competition later this month.
Gandelsman on Tuesday posted a picture with Idan on Instagram, saying, “Get to know, this is Miss Iraq and she’s amazing,” followed by a heart emoji.
On her Instagram page, Idan also posted the picture, along with the caption “peace and love from Miss Iraq and Miss Israel.”
Like many Arab countries, Iraq does not recognize Israel and is openly hostile towards the Jewish state. Yet Israel and Iraq’s Kurdish community, which the Jewish state backed for independence from Iraq in September, do enjoy warm relations.
Idan, 27, from Baghdad, and Gandelsman, 19, from Ashkelon, will compete at the Miss Universe pageant in late November in Las Vegas.
Despite the warm social media posts, fraternizing with Israel has landed other Arab beauty queens in hot water in recent years. In 2015, Miss Lebanon, Saly Greige, nearly lost her title after she posted a photo on social media appearing with Miss Israel, Doron Matalon. In August, dual Swedish-Lebanese citizen Amanda Hanna, who won the Miss Lebanon Emigrant 2017 competition, was stripped of her title after it was revealed that she had visited Israel using her Swedish passport on an academic trip in 2016.