Miss Israel Doron Matalon, who took a controversial selfie with fellow 2015 Miss Universe contestant Saly Greige of Lebanon, has responded to the controversy by saying that she hopes something good will come of it.
“You know, I really want to make a difference,” responded Matalon to a question from a Hollywood Access TV reporter about how she handled the situation. “I want people to talk about it… I’m just happy that I’m here, and I’m sure [Miss Lebanon] is happy here… to be together in this situation, a once-in-a-lifetime [opportunity].”
The reporter, for one, thought Miss Israel’s reaction to the controversy - which even garnered Jon Stewart’s satirical award for ‘most upsetting Mideast picture’ - was “handled beautifully.”
Matalon also expressed her pride to be representing Israel. “I’m so proud… – look [pointing to her dress, which was decorated with a sequin Star of David], I have my sign – to represent my country, my people,” Matalon said.
The photo in question featured several beauty queens at the preparations for the 2015 Miss Universe beauty pageant, staged in Miami. Taken by Matalon, the photo features Greige. Israel and Lebanon have been technically at war with each other since the former’s founding in 1948. The faux-pas sparked an intense debate in Lebanon, with some demanding that Greige lose her title for consorting with a citizen of the enemy state.