In a more “normal” world, the visit of one woman to Israel would not be newsworthy.
However, last year, Iraq’s Miss Universe posed together with her Israeli counterpart on an Instagram photo, with a message about peace.
And the reaction from the Muslim world was so intensely hateful that her family had to flee Iraq for the U.S.
Iraq’s representative at the 2017 Miss Universe pageant — whose Instagram photo last year with her Israeli counterpart forced her family to flee the Middle Eastern country — was cheered and hugged this week by shoppers at an iconic Jerusalem market during an extraordinary visit to Israel.
“It actually felt weird — the people look like my people. And the city looks like Damascus, like Syria, and I’ve been there, so everything seems familiar to me,” Sarah Idan said in a TV item aired Tuesday by Hadashot….
Idan was showered with praise, with one Israeli woman telling her: “Thank you for being so brave, you are an inspiration to all the women in the world.”
The 26-year-old Iraqi-born contestant lives in the United States, but her family was forced to relocate from the Arab country after a photo she posed for together with Miss Israel Adar Gandelsman went viral last year….
From Jerusalem, Idan said Iraqis and Israelis are not enemies.
“I don’t think Iraq and Israel are enemies, I think maybe the governments are enemies with each other,” she said. “But there are a lot of Iraqi people who don’t have a problem with Israel or with the Jewish people. There are a lot of Iraqi people on my side, and I believe they are happy I am here.”
She also recalled the major backlash she received upon posting the Instagram image last year.
“I did not think it would blow up like this when I took this picture,” she said in Israel. “I lived for many years in the US, I have many friends who are Jewish or Israeli, I don’t think about people like that.”
“I cannot go to Iraq anytime soon,” she added, saying she would only feel safe traveling to her home country when it had better relations with Israel. “That’s a price I paid and also my family paid since they were forced to leave the country.”….