Miss Iraq Sarah Idan took the picture with Adar Gandelsman, Miss Israel 2017, at Miss Universe beauty pageant on November 14.
the selfie taken by Miss Iraq Sarah Idan (L) with Miss Israel Adar Gandelsman. (Source: Instagram)
The Telegraph reported that the family of Miss Iraq Sarah Idan was forced flee the country following several death threats after the selfie went viral.
Idan took the picture with Adar Gandelsman, Miss Israel 2017, at Miss Universe beauty pageant on November 14. She then shared it on social media, saying, “Peace and Love from Miss Iraq and Miss Israel.” Gandelsman also shared the image on her social media account and image has gone viral across the Middle East. Some Arab states in region, including Iraq, do not have formal relations with Israel.
The matter came to light after the 20-year-old told Israeli media outlet Hadshot News that Idan lives in the United States while the rest of her family has now fled the country after getting death threats, in the aftermath of the backlash the photo has generated. She was also criticised for posing in a bikini.
She said that the two of them have remained in touch since the pageant and that they now have a special relationship.
“The two of those things together caused a mess for her back home where people made threats against her and her family that if she didn’t return home and take down the photos, they would remove her [Miss Iraq] title, that they would kill her,” she said.
“She did it to so that people can understand that it’s possible to live together. In order for people to see that we can connect, in the end we are both human beings,” Gandelsman added.
Idan took to Twitter to confirm the news.
— Sarai (Sarah Idan) (@grrrciara) December 15, 2017
Iraq has never recognised Israel since the state was created in 1948. Iraqi and Israeli forces fought against each other in 1948, 1967 and 1973.