The political squabble between Israel and Lebanon has spilled into the beauty queen arena as well. A selfie posted by Israeli beauty queen, Doron Matalon, of herself and Miss Lebanon, Saly Greige, smiling together is causing quite a stir in Lebanon, with some Lebanese asking their country’s contestant at the Miss Universe pageant be stripped of her title for hanging out with the enemy. The selfie which also captioned fellow contestants from Japan and Slovenia, was taken at the pageant preparations in Miami, where the winner of the Miss Universe contest will be selected on January 25.
Ms. Greige defended herself on the photo-sharing service, Instagram, on Saturday, saying Ms. Matalon had pestered her for a picture together and finally photobombed her. Lebanon has a policy barring her citizens from fraternizing with anybody from the Jewish state. In 1993, Lebanon government disqualified its Miss Universe contestant after Agence France-Presse published a photo of her in arms with her Jewish contestant.
Griege claims that she was a victim of a sinister plot to discredit her and posted the following message on Facebook and Instagram: “I was very cautious to avoid being in any photo or communication with Miss Israel (that tried several times to have a photo with me) … I was having a photo with Miss Japan, Miss Slovenia and myself; suddenly Miss Israel jumped in, took a selfie, and put it on her social media.”
Ms. Israel however responded with the following message on her Facebook page: “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 neighbouring [sic] country.”
The Miss Universe contest is scheduled to hold this Sunday in Miami, Florida with the world’s attention gravitating to this most watched beauty event after the recently concluded Miss World pageant in London last month.