“I don’t think Iraq and Israel are enemies… There are a lot of Iraqi people on my side, and I believe they are happy I am here,” Miss Iraq Sarah Idan said in Israel.
By: United with Israel Staff
Miss Iraq 2017 Sarah Idan, on a visit to Israel, is sharing her unbelievable experience with tens of thousands of followers on social media.
“Friendly relations between Israelis & Arabs will definitely help in ushering in a better tomorrow for all of us in the Middle East,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Arabic-language spokesman Ofir Gendelman wrote on Twitter of the visit.
During her visit to the Jewish state, Idan reunited with Miss Israel, Adar Gandelsman, with whom she had shared a selfie that generated another Middle Eastern storm and subsequently forced Idan’s family to flee from Iraq to the US.
Last year, the two beauty queens displayed an exceptional moment of camaraderie in the selfie, ahead of the Miss Universe competition.
Idan posted the photo, along with the caption “peace and love from Miss Iraq and Miss Israel.” She consequently encountered considerable pressure and threats but refused to remove the Instagram image.
In Israel, Idan visited Jerusalem and its famed Mahane Yehuda open market, where she was warmly welcomed.
“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,” she told Israel TV on Tuesday.
“Thank you for being so brave, you are an inspiration to all the women in the world,” one Israeli woman at the market told her.
“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, Idan said.
Idan came to Israel at the invitation of the American Jewish Committee (AJC).
As reports of the visit surfaced, Idan’s and Gandelsman’s Instagram pages were hacked, Israeli TV reported.
Like many Arab countries, Iraq does not recognize Israel and is openly hostile towards the Jewish state. However, Israel and Iraq’s Kurdish community enjoy warm relations.
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