International tensions flare over Miss Israel’s selfie with Miss Lebanon

Miss Lebanon Saly Greige is defending herself after critics claimed she took a selfie with Miss Israel during the Miss Universe pageant.

The Miss Universe contestants are currently in Miami preparing for the pageant, which airs Jan. 25, and when they aren’t competing or making promotional content, they may have a moment or two to relax and keep their fans entertained with behind-the-scenes photos. Last week, Miss Israel Doron Matalon posted a seemingly innocent photo of herself, Greige, and contestants from Slovenia and Japan.

Good morning from us! Miss Japan , miss Slovenia, miss Lebanon & I ❤️ @missunews @missuniverse @beautyschoolbs @belezasdouniverso @missuniversusa @miss_israel #miami #mu2014 #missisrael #loveisrael #MissIsraelUniverse #missuniversemiami

A photo posted by Doron Matalon (@doronmatalon_official) on

Greige quickly drew criticism from people in Lebanon for the photo not because of her appearance, but because she was in the photo with Matalon. According to Lebanese newspaper The Daily Star, contact with anyone from Israel is illegal because the two countries are “enemy states” and have been at war since 2006. Some called for her to lose her title of Miss Lebanon because she had associated herself with someone from Israel.

After the controversy bubbled in Lebanon for days, Greige finally spoke out about the photo. Posting a version of the selfie with Matalon noticeably cropped out, she explained that she was photobombed after she avoided any contact with Matalon for the duration of the competition, despite attempts to take a photo with her.

“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,” Greige wrote as she thanked her supporters.

Matalon, on the other hand, didn’t back down from the photo and lamented that the hostile relationship between Israel and Lebanon couldn’t be put aside for a few weeks while women from around the world gathered together in one place.

“It doesn’t surprise me, but it makes me sad,” she wrote.

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H/T Al Arabiya News | Photo via Iconosquare

Michelle Jaworski

Michelle Jaworski

Michelle Jaworski is a staff writer and the resident Game of Thrones expert at the Daily Dot. She covers entertainment, geek culture, and pop culture and has brought her knowledge to conventions like Con of Thrones. She is based in New Jersey.