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January 18, 2015 7:19 pm

Miss Israel Responds After Miss Lebanon Distances Herself From Joint Photo: ‘It Doesn’t Surprise Me, But it Still Makes Me Sad’

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Miss Israel and Miss Lebanon pose side by side in a 'selfie'. Photo: Instagram.

Miss Israel, Doron Matalon, has responded to the controversy surrounding a ‘selfie’ she took together with Miss Lebanon at the ongoing Miss Universe competition in Florida, saying that she is saddened, by not surprised by the Arab beauty’s decision to strongly distance herself from the picture.

“It doesn’t surprise me, but it still makes me sad. Too bad you can not put the hostility out of the game,” Matalon wrote on Instagram on Sunday. “Only for three weeks of an experience of a lifetime that we can meet girls from around the world and also from the neighboring country.”

The controversial picture was first posted by Matalon on January 11th and was captioned: “Good morning from us!”

After an avalanche of criticism from within the Arab world, which often frowns on contact with Israel, Miss Lebanon, Saly Greige, on Friday issued a stunning repudiation of the image and even claimed to have been avoiding Miss Israel throughout the competition.

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“The truth behind the photo,” she claimed was that “Since the first day of my arrival to participate to Miss Universe, I was very cautious to avoid being in any photo or communication with Miss Israel (that tried several times to have a photo with me) … 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…this is what happened and I hope to have your full support in the Miss Universe contest.”

Miss Universe organizers did not immediately respond to requests for comment, CNN reported.

In a Facebook comment on the incident, Sohrab Ahmari, an editorial page writer for The Wall Street Journal, wrote simply: “The Arab lands are sick.”

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