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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.

“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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  • Gary Katz

    Miss Lebanon probably doesn’t harbor hatred, but she is trying to protect her title, if not her life, from the drooling masses. I would respect her more if she said, “Don’t tell me with whom I can appear in a photo! This is a beauty pageant, not a battle field!”

  • Sharon Z

    WE won’t miss Miss Lebanon too much,in fact good riddance.Where is Miss Hezballah,Miss Hamas,Miss Iran..Miss palestine…Miss ISIS…

  • itrene

    First I am a jew, but I have to admit miss Israeli, was being selfish. She knew the out come. Israel is better than this.

    That said, the backgrounds look different.

  • Alain Barchichat

    Miss Lebanon, you have been weighed and you have been measured, and you have been foud wanting…..dearly wanting.

    • giimog

      I don’t necessarily approve what some Lebanese are saying but when you copy quotes, make sure you put them into quotes and write them correctly “Alain the knight”

  • Alex R-

    She does not look upset at all at being “selfied” by Ms. Israel, does she?

    The subsequent BS statement is political. I do not think there is fear in her from extremists in her fold, since a bathing suit photo of her would be enough of an excuse to having her decapitated in any one of the “non apartheid” arab states.

  • Stephen

    Why are we surprised? If she does not distance herself, she will be shunned and possibly worse by her brethren in their “religion of peace”.

    Just another racist showing they call for double standards all the time.

    Accept us for who we are, but not those dirty Jews.

    (yes … I am Jewish)

  • scallywag

    Rather than capitulate to pressures and cynical political wrangling at home perhaps Miss Lebanon should have stood by the picture and have championed a chance for a showing of good will between two feuding states? If not then when and what’s the point of Miss Universe pageants anyway? Then again are we really surprised why there’s a lack of peace in the region in the first place …? Then again perhaps Hezbollah should field the next Miss Lebanon contestant, one well enough trained to resist a selfie from a Miss Israel combatant…

  • stephen packter

    And I thought that the men of the arab world preferred goats?

  • Sal

    You do realize people in her country will kill her if she come out and says “Miss Israel is a wonderful person and I’m glad I got to know her”. You all have no idea how she feels. Maybe, just maybe, she has already been threatened and is in fear because of the photo. You know what, I might be wrong on this, but you have to admit I just might be right.

    • I don’t believe Miss Israeli did anything wrong, but I feel sorry for Miss Lebanon too, it looks like in the photo that she probably did like Miss Israel,.. But being young,someone behind the scene had a talk with her..she had to back off?

  • karen Jackson

    No doubt when asked what her aspirations are, she will answer ‘World Peace!

    • Alain Barchichat

      Hahahahola! Good one!

  • aptullah asravi

    No comment

  • aptullah asravi

    o World humanity is dying, wakeup!

  • aptullah asravi

    all the World is sick and crazy.

  • Dany Toren

    She is worried of the repercussions back home,but that is no excuse,spineless she needs a backbone transplant,when you think that nothing that these people do could surprise you anymore…Then you get this..Miss Israel is hot….

  • First of all, she is Christian. Not a “jihadist”. Lebanese Christians don’t mind Israelians. I’d take a picture next to Natalie Portman in a heartbeat. She obviously didn’t mind taking the photo, but when you and your family are threatened, you are willing to do anything.

  • Miss Lebanon may be pretty on the outside, she is definitely ugly on the inside.

  • Bev

    Oh please! Give your head a shake and go home! Both ‘Miss Lebanon’ and Arabs through out the World knew going in the Ideology behind the Miss Universe Pageant, so there’s no surprise or sympathy here people! it just boggles the mind why ‘Miss Lebanon’ or like-minded Arabs would even enter the Pageant in the first place. So now that the Soul of ‘Miss Lebanon’s’ true character has been exposed as a ‘Pageant oxymoron’, the question is… Given the Spirit of the Pageant and what ‘Miss Universe’ is to represent, should ‘Miss Lebanon’ be asked to withdraw from the Pagant or, should She simply be automatically disqualified and sent home steeped in disgrace? … thus removing the stench from the dark clouds and Credibility Loss hovering over the Pagant and it’s Future, notwithstanding the humiliation of it’s other Contestants. This is not the ‘heart’ nor ‘torch of Hope’ I envision beats in a ‘Miss Universe’, do You? Guys, this is a no brainer!

  • T.C.

    Israeli girls don’t need to enter such competitions. We all know they are the most beautiful women in the world.

  • NuritGn

    I totally agree with the remark Sohrab Ahmari, the editorial page writer for The Wall Street Journal, made: “The Arab lands are sick.”

  • James

    The ugly Miss Lebanon

  • BMS

    If ANY country does not want to stand next to Miss Israel in the pre-pageant photos or any press junkets she should be disqualified. The Miss Universe Pageant should be a place where the women can co-exist side by side, and show the world what the ideals of the Miss Universe Pageant stand for. The hatred that exists in these Middle East countries for Israel obviously shows no boundaries. Miss Lebanon didn’t look like she was trying to pull away from any photo to me. She seemed to be smiling and happy and getting along with Miss Israel. If the leaders in Lebanon are so upset because of their anti-Israel irrational hatred they should not send a contestant to the pageant in the future.

  • Angel Garcia

    Maybe she was told not to make friendship with Miss Israel or she’ll be punished when she gets back to her country. You know women really have no life in those countries. They are punished severely for disobeying.

  • Yossi Bar-Negev

    I suppose that Miss Lebanon proves the old adage that ‘beauty is only skin deep.’ So sad indeed.

  • TheAZCowBoy

    After Israel’s 2006 massacres in lebanon – any Jew (Pretty face or not) caught comingling with any Lebanese citizen needs to be SHOT!!!

    Israel’s continuing theft of gas in the Palestinan/Lebanese gas fields in the Mediterranean sea should be met with force!

    • hmmm let me see…..Since Lebanon sends missiles into Israel, attacks it’s citizens thru terrorist attacks on kibbutz, threatens Israel’s very existence thru constant threats and actions, Ms. Israel should just have clobbered Ms. Lebanon. Grow up!!! This is a Beauty Pagent and is designed to make the world a better and closer place, not a political field where you can vent your ugly ideology of world domination!

  • steven L

    Don’t be sad. She must have received countless death threats from fanatic Muslims. Fanatics are fanatic and corrode the value and meaning of life.
    Islamism is by definition a “deicidal” concept born from Islam; not from Christianism, Hinduism, Judaism or other “isms”. They own it and so far they do want to fix it. Only insanity define this kind of “alien”! They are really alien to this planet.



  • Michael

    I don’t blame Miss Lebanon: some idiot could even kill her for being in the photo. The US government should express “displeasure” to the Lebanese government and see if that affects the stirring up of hatred in their media. The US has been very passive in this regard, despite the large amount of aid we hand out.

  • Miss Lebanon may someday hopefully learn that blind hatred is never beautiful.

  • Mireille Mechoullam

    That’s the Middle East. They can’t have a rest from hate. This would have been an occasion for a little harmony but ……………

  • Anthony dayton

    Sounds like Miss Lebanon is perfect to be chosen as Miss Robinson

  • manley kiefer

    Seems prejudice and hate have no limitations for extremists.

  • art

    This is an example of why there will be no peace in the middle east. Any human contact or co existence with Jews is condemned. This is part of why Obama, Kerry Clinton et al are dishonest when they push and pressure Israel for more concessions. Remember one of the conditions of Oslo was for a normalization of relations. The ending of terror and normalization of relations was a requirement of the Madrid Conference as well as other agreements and common sense.

    • TheAZCowBoy

      Oslo I & II?
      Remember your SATANyahu ‘obrogated’ them decades ago!

  • Mickey Oberman

    I believe the reluctance of Muslim countries to have contact with Israelis in competitive events is their fear of being bested by a Jew.

    They seem to accept their inferiority.

    • TheAZCowBoy

      As if the spineless Jews could win at anything. Except, maybe murdering innocent babies and their mothers in Gaza.

    • TheAZCowBoy

      How many ‘heads of governments visit Israel?
      How ’bout the ‘Royals’ and their non-existent visits to that 1/2 a Ebola/Jewish Nazi lands?

    • Mike

      Miss Lebanon is much prettier.

    • psst

      Spoiler alert, Lebanon is not a Muslim country. It’s a country that carries all sects. Miss Lebanon has the right to pose or not to pose with anyone. And Lebanese people have nothing against the Jews “the religion” it’s the base of all religions.

      • blue sky

        Pssst, its true a person has a right to pose with whoever they want but the point of Miss Universe is not just who is most beautiful. It is suppose to show beautiful character and vision for a better world.

  • Mayven

    The lovely lady representing Miss Lebanon is fearful that members of terrorists organizations mired within Lebanon will bring harm to her…consequently she feels compelled to distance herself.
    Terrorists hold Lebanon hostage and people live in eternal fear…sadly. What an uptight society

    • David Wm

      Ms. Israel sees a photo of this type as a hopeful symbol of future peaceful relations between the two countries. Ms. Lebanon sees this photo as a potential death warrant.

    • Joy D. Brower

      I believe as you do that Miss Lebanon’s reaction was mainly out of fear for her – and her family’s – well-being. It’s well known that jihadis wreck revenge for even less reason. All you have to do is see that genuinely happy (and carefree) smile on Miss Lebanon’s face to know that her subsequently rebuttal was done out of fear and, perhaps, coercion.

    • This is a real-life case-vignette illustrating why the progressive liberal approach to the Middle East. The latent goodwill within individual Arabs will never be tolerated within their media or politique.
      So the usual logic of neutralizing hatred with goodwill is inherently doomed within this conflict. Which is why its become eternal.

  • Karen

    It’s hard work to hate.

  • Jerry farber

    That intolerance and hatred is not part of the miss universe ideals. She should be disqualified. The Muslims seem to do anything they want and get away with it. stand up tall you gutless wonders, send her packing!

    • Linda Sinclair

      I agree that Miss Universe candidates should NOT be prejudice, and hateful. The Lebanese candidate should be disqualified, and sent home packing!! Her actions and words are a disgrace to the Miss Universe program.

    • Terri Granot

      Yes, that is just what I was thinking. She needs to be sent packing. No room for hate at a Miss Universe contest.