The Miss Universe contestant this year from Lebanon, Saly Greige, appears in a photo with Miss Isreal, but she claims that Miss Israel photobombed her. Should Miss Lebanon be stripped of her title? According to some citizens of her own country, she should, as the Lebanese newspaper The Daily Star reported that several citizens wanted Saly Greige to “be stripped from her title for mingling with the citizen of an enemy state.”
Miss Lebanon, Saly Greige, 25, stated that she had deliberately been trying to avoid being in a photo with Miss Israel, Doron Matalon, 21. She has been criticized, however, for appearing in just such a picture, a group photo of her smiling and standing next to Miss Israel.
How can there be peace in the Middle East when there is not even peace between two beauty pageant contestants from countries in the Middle East? Whether Miss Israel “photobombed” Miss Lebanon or not, it is little wonder that Greige claims that is what happened, given the outcry that has already resulted from social media sources and some of the citizens of Lebanon.
The photo is not just of Miss Lebanon and Miss Israel standing side-by-side, as if they were “besties.” But, those two are at the center of what has become a firestorm of controversy. Other contestants in the photo are Miss Japan, Keiko Tsuji, and Miss Slovenia, Urška Bračko, who are both 21. The photo was posted on January 11 to Miss Japan’s Instagram page.
The photo was captioned: “Good morning from us!”
On her own Intagram page, Greige has the same photo, but with Miss Israel cropped out. On Saturday, she wrote there that she had been “very cautious to avoid being in any photo or communication with Miss isreal” adding that she had “tried several times to take a photo with me.”
Miss Lebanon stated that she was only having her photo taken with the other two beauty pageant contestants, when “suddenly Miss Israel jumped in and took a selfie, and uploaded it on her social media.”
Miss Universe contestant, Miss Lebanon standing next to Miss Israel, is no laughing matter or minor thing to the citizens of Lebanon, with Lebanese television station Al Jadeed also weighing in. According to NBC News, Al Jadeed commented about one of Miss Lebanon’s hobbies, reading, saying that, perhaps sarcastically, she should have read that her country and Israel are enemies.
Israel, a Jewish state, and Lebanon, a Muslim state, have been at wear for years. Flight between the two countries has been banned and any violations can lead to jail time.
Miss Israel, Doron Matalon, wrote at her Facebook page in English that she felt “sad” about the comments that Miss Lebanon had made. She stated that “it’s a shame that we can’t put the hostilities aside, just for three weeks.” She described the experience of being in the Miss Universe Pageant as “a rare opportunity to meet girls from all around the world,” and “to hear about the different cultures and to experience this experience together.”
Not all citizens of Lebanon think of Greige as now being an enemy of the state for appearing in a photo standing next to Miss Israel, of course. One person from Lebanon who wrote on Miss Israel’s Facebook page said “Without the media, I would have seen this picture as a positive thing for both countries, that they are taking a picture together despite what’s happening back home.”
Beauty pageant winners from 88 countries are competing in this year’s 63rd annual Miss Universe Pageant. It will air on NBC on Sunday, January 25, 2015 on NBC and Telemundo (live; 8-11 p.m. ET). The Miss Universe Pageant will be broadcast from Florida International University in Doral-Miami, Florida. It will be hosted by Natalie Morales (“TODAY”) and Thomas Roberts (“MSNBC Live”) and musical guests will include Nick Jonas, who is currently dating Miss Universe 2012 Olivia Culpo, and twenty-time Latin Billboard Award winner, Prince Royce. They will be performing onstage together during the swimsuit portion of the Miss Universe Pageant competition.
Written By Douglas Cobb