The universe is sending Adar Gandelsman and Sarah Idan mixed messages.
The two women, representing their respective countries as Miss Israel and Miss Iraq at the Miss Universe pageant this month in Las Vegas, posted pictures posing together on Instagram on Tuesday.
“Peace and love from Miss Iraq and Miss Israel”, Idan captioned her photo. Get to know, this is Miss Iraq and she’s amazing”, wrote Gandelsman.
Both posts received huge numbers of likes and comments, both positive and violently negative. Idan issued a statement on Instagram explaining the post. 19 year-old Gandelsman, she says, approached her and asked for a photo, calling herself a proponent of peace between the two women’s countries. Idan added that the photo should not be interpreted as her support of Israel. She explained,
She asked if I would like to take a picture together. I told her I would be glad to help spread the message. The aim of the photo was an expression of hope for world peace.
Gandelsman’s comments seconded Idan’s words. “After we talked, we realized that there weren’t any differences between us,” she said. “We uploaded the picture so that the world could see that it’s possible to talk and live together.”
Idan also wrote, “My stance is not a political one and I don’t support the Israeli government or its agenda. We are just sending a message of unity and peace.” She added, “I would like to apologize to anyone who considered the photo to be offensive to the Palestinian cause as this was not the aim behind the post, it was merely a call to peace and hope for a solution to the crisis.”
Meanwhile, spokesperson for the Israeli Prime Minister Ofir Gendelman (no relation to Miss Israel) called the photo “A great message of hope for the region” and wished both women luck.
Miss Iraq Sarah Idan and Miss Israel Adar Gandelsman (no relation…) met at the Miss Universe beauty pageant and became friends. Miss Iraq posted this photo on her Instagram. What a great message of hope for the region. Good luck to both Sarah and Hadar. pic.twitter.com/GV9L9JW7Rg— Ofir Gendelman (@ofirgendelman) November 14, 2017
Jenny Singer is a writer for the Forward. You can reach her at Singer@forward.com or on Twitter @jeanvaljenny
Miss Iraq gives statement about photo with Miss Israel