The family of Iraq’s contestant in the Miss Universe beauty pageant fled the country after they were threatened over Miss Iraq modeling in a bikini — and appearing in photos with Miss Israel, the Times of Israel reported.
Miss Iraq, Sarah Idan, and Miss Israel, Adar Gandelsman, appeared in photos together at the Miss Universe Competition last month — and they both posted those photos to their Instagram accounts.
The images — along with Idan appearing in a bikini — became a problem for Miss Iraq and her family.
“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 title, that they would kill her,” Gandelsman told Israeli TV outlet Hadashot, the Times reported.
Gandelsman said she's been in contact with Idan since the competition, the Times said, and that her friend doesn't regret posting the photo, which was still on her Instagram page Thursday.
Idan's photo with Gandlelsman includes a caption that reads, “Peace and Love from Miss Iraq and Miss Israel." Gandelsman is on the left and Idan is on the right:
A post shared by Sarah Idan (Sarai) سارة عيدان (@sarahidan) on
Miss Iraq defended appearing in the photo with Gandelsman last month after criticism from some in her country, the Times reported.
“I want to stress that the purpose of the picture was only to express hope and desire for peace between the two countries,” Idan wrote on Instagram in Arabic, the paper reported.
Idan also said her photo with Miss Israel “does not signal support for the government of Israel and does not mean I agree or accept its policies in the Arab homeland," the Times said. She added an apology “to all those who consider [the photo] harmful to the Palestinian cause,” the paper added.
Here's Gandelsman's photo from her Instagram account. Gandelsman is on the left and Idan is on the right:
A post shared by Miss Universe Israel🇮🇱 (@adar_gandelsman) on
Gandelsman explained that Idan posted her photo of the pair "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," the Jerusalem Post reported.