Miss Lebanon in this year’s Miss Universe pageant, Saly Greige, has responded to social-media criticism after appearing in a photo with Miss Israel Doron Matalon in Miami, where the pageant takes place Sunday. Lebanon and Israel have engaged in border clashes and other hostilities since their 34-day war in 2006.
Miss Israel Doron Matalon posted a photo of herself and Miss Lebanon Saly Greige smiling together at pageant preparations in Miami, where the winner will be picked on January 25.
לא שזה הפתיע אותי, אבל חבל שאי אפשר לשים את העוינות בצד , רק לשלושה שבועות שבהן יש לנו הזדמנות נדירה להכיר בנות מכל העולם (וגם מהמדינות השכנות) לשמוע על התרבויות השונות ולחוות את החוויה הזאת ביחד. It doesn't surprise me, but it still makes me sad. Too bad you can not put the hostility out of the game, only for three weeks of an experience of a lifetime that we can meet girls from around the world and also from the neighboring country. @salygreige_official @miss_israel @missunews @missuniverse @missuniversusa #lebanon #israel #missuniverse2014
Some Lebanese have demanded on social media that Greige lose her title for contacts with a citizen of the enemy state.
Greige defended herself on the photo-sharing service Instagram on Saturday, saying Matalon had pestered her for a picture together and finally photobombed her.
“Since the first day of my arrival to participate to Miss Universe, I was very cautious to avoid being in any photo or communication with Miss Israel, who tried several times to take a photo with me,” Greige said.
“I was having a photo with Miss Japan, Miss Slovenia, suddenly Miss Israel jumped in and took a selfie, and uploaded it on her social media.”
This is not the first time tensions between the two countries have flared during Miss Universe. In 2002, Miss Lebanon, Christina Sawaya, boycotted the competition because Miss Israel, Yamit Har-Noy, was also competing.