For­mer Miss Iraq vis­its Is­rael on a mis­sion for peace

The National - News - - NEWS WORLD - Agence France-Presse

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

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