Former Miss Iraq visits Israel on a mission for peace
A former Miss Iraq, whose selfie with her Israeli counterpart last year triggered criticism, called for coexistence and regional peace during her visit to the country on Wednesday.
Baghdad-born Sarah Idan, 28, had posted the picture on her Instagram account with her new friend, the Israeli Adar Gandelsman, during the 2017 Miss Universe pageant in Las Vegas.
The outcry in her native Iraq, which does not recognise Israel and is formally at war with it, compelled Ms Idan’s family to relocate to the United States, where she lives.
Speaking at a conference in Jerusalem led by a global Jewish advocacy organisation, Ms Idan called for peace between Iraq and Israel.
“I travelled thousands of miles and put my life in a risk not just to express how so many of us are tired of this endless war between our countries,” she said at the American Jewish Committee Global Forum.
Her visit to Israel was aimed at calling for a “new method” to achieve peace, which seeks “reasoning, mutual compromise and … unity”, she said, rather than “emphasising our disagreements and implanting hatred”.
Addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Ms Idan said she believed both nations “have a right to coexist in this beautiful land”. She said she hoped to see Jews and Arabs travelling the region freely and fearlessly.
She told the conference she hoped for “a new chapter for Israel and Palestine, with less blood and more amity”.
Ms Idan, who arrived in Israel on Saturday, met Ms Gandelsman before the conference, posting pictures and videos on her social-media accounts.
Sarah Idan, right, with Adar Gandelsman on Wednesday