Sometimes, it seems, politics can hamper the mood of the most elegant events.
As women from all over the world gather in Miami for the 63rd annual Miss Universe beauty pageant, Doron Matalon, a flute-playing 21-year-old who is representing Israel, took a series of photos with fellow beauty queens.
Posing with Miss France, Miss Hungary and Miss Ireland, Matalon also snapped a picture with Sally Greige, Miss Lebanon, and two other contestants in the January 25 pageant.
Uploaded to Matalon’s Instagram account, the picture caused an uproar in Lebanon, with calls for Griege to be stripped of her role as Miss Lebanon for consorting with Israel, an enemy state.
The Daily Star, a English-language Middle Eastern newspaper edited in Beirut, reported that Greige took to Facebook on Sunday to defend herself.
“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.
“This is what happened,” she added. “I hope you continue supporting me.”
It is illegal for Lebanese citizens to have contact with the Jewish state.
Greige, who holds a master’s degree in civil engineering, had previously stated that she intended to socialize with contestants from diverse backgrounds.
“[The contest] is a great opportunity to get to know different cultures and make new friends from all over the world,” said the blue-eyed beauty.
Not, apparently, including veterans of the IDF.