Terrorists and Tiaras
It is hard to feel sorry for Lebanese-Swede Amanda Hanna, who was stripped of her Miss Lebanon Emigrant 2017 title this week — some nine days after being crowned in the annual expat beauty pageant — when it was discovered that she had visited Israel last year as part of an academic tour.
Hanna, who expressed her gratitude on Facebook at having won the August 12 finals, was declared unfit to fill the role of best-looking Lebanese expat in a statement released by the organizers of the event, held in Dhour El Choueir. ”After communicating our decision with Lebanon’s minister of tourism,” the communique read, “he decided that Hanna should be stripped of her title because her visit to Israel violates our country’s laws.”
Hanna should have known this was going to happen, and not only because Lebanon is the Jewish state’s sworn enemy. Indeed, had she done her homework, she would have learned that any contact with Israelis in Lebanon is punishable by imprisonment. She also might have discovered that the movie ”Wonder Woman” was banned from its theaters because it stars Israeli actress Gal Gadot. A simple Google search, too, would have revealed that Miss Lebanon Saly Greige came under heavy fire two and half years ago for appearing in a selfie with Miss Israel, Doron Matalon, during the Miss Universe pageant in Miami. After Matalon posted the photo (of herself with Miss Slovenia, Miss Japan and Greige) on Instagram, Greige was criticized widely in her country for being a traitor. To defend herself against the accusations, Greige said that she had been taking a photo with Miss Slovenia and Miss Japan, when suddenly “Miss Israel jumped in.”
It is not Hanna’s fault that Lebanon is one large base for the Shiite terrorist organization Hezbollah. But it was her choice to participate in an event sponsored by the powers-that-be in Beirut, who are not only evil in and of themselves, but who enjoy warm relations with the regime in Tehran.
This makes perfect sense to anyone who has been paying attention, since Hezbollah is the Islamic Republic of Iran’s proxy in Lebanon. Furthermore, Lebanese President Michel Aoun and his government, headed by Prime Minister Saad Hariri, are openly pro-Hezbollah. In fact, Aoun met with Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Jaberi Ansari on Monday morning at the Baabda Palace in Beirut, and received an invitation from Iranian President Hassan Rouhani for an official visit to Tehran for the purpose of enhancing their relationship.
Iran’s burgeoning position next door to Lebanon, in Syria, was the focus of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s trip to Russia this week. In a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Wednesday, Netanyahu warned that he would take military action, if necessary, to prevent Tehran from expanding its presence in Syria. Like Lebanon, Syria borders Israel in the north. Hezbollah fighters, Shiite militias and Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps soldiers, who joined forces to safeguard the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad against Islamic State and other Sunni rebels — all of whom also promote jihad against the Jews — pose a grave danger to the Jewish state.
”We cannot forget for a single minute that Iran threatens every day to annihilate Israel,” Netanyahu told Putin, who has been supporting Assad and his Tehran-backed allies since 2015. “Israel opposes Iran’s continued entrenchment in Syria. We will be sure to defend ourselves with all means against this and any threat.”
This was Netanyahu’s sixth meeting with Putin in the past two years. During previous conversations between the two, the Russian leader apparently agreed to allow Israel unfettered access to Syrian airspace to launch limited strikes on Hezbollah convoys carrying Iranian — and North Korean — missiles. Putin allegedly told Netanyahu in the past that his sole interest in Hezbollah was its battle to keep Assad in power, not its aim to eviscerate Israel. Whether the Russian president responded to Netanyahu’s latest plea with similar ”sympathy” is not clear.
What is plain as day is that jihad is alive and well across the region; even the most incidental association with Israel is enough to rid a beauty queen of her crown. Now that she is safely back in Europe, Hanna should respond to the travesty by railing at her Lebanese hosts. She is unlikely to do so, however, as Sweden considers all acts of hostility toward Israel to be Israel’s fault. Let Hanna contemplate that while crying over the loss of her tiara.
Ruthie Blum is an editor at the Gatestone Institute.
This piece first appeared in Israel Hayom.