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June 13, 2018 1:51 pm

Miss Israel and Miss Iraq Share Message of Peace at AJC Global Forum

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Miss Israel Adar Gendelsman (left) and Miss Iraq Sarah Idan speaking at the AJC Global Forum. Photo: Screenshot/YouTube.

Miss Israel Adar Gendelsman and Miss Iraq Sarah Idan together gave a speech about peace at a major Jewish gathering in Jerusalem this week.

The beauty queens, who became friends when they competed in the Miss Universe pageant last November in Las Vegas, addressed the American Jewish Committee’s Global Forum.

Idan, 28, told the audience, “I seek peace. I traveled thousands of miles and put my life at risk, not just to express how so many of us are tired of this endless war between our countries. I come here to present you with the most vital question: what are we willing to try, to provide our future sons and daughters peace and a life of dignity and harmony, and how can we achieve it?”

Miss Iraq added, “It is time to seek a new method, one that does not consist in emphasizing our disagreements and planting hatred between our people, but rather one that seeks reasoning, mutual compromise, and national unity.”

Iraq does not recognize Israel and the two countries do not have any formal diplomatic relations. However, Israel does have warm relations with Iraq’s Kurdish community, which the Jewish state backed for independence from Iraq in 2017.

Idan, who was born in Iraq, was attacked on social media last year for posting on Instagram a selfie with Gandelsman along with the caption, “Peace and Love from Miss Iraq and Miss Israel.”

Gandelsman, 20, said Idan and her family received death threats over the photo, but Miss Iraq refused to take down the picture. Out of fear, the family fled Iraq and Idan now lives in the US.

Idan, who came to Israel at the invitation of the AJC, also spoke at the Global Forum about becoming friends with Gendelsman during the Miss Universe competition. She said, “We were both just two humans, with an open heart, who embraced diversity and were fascinated by the lives that we both led. Right then and there we became like sisters. … We were eager to show each other love and support, and to let the whole world know [that] we stand for love and peace.”

On Tuesday, Idan posted a video on Instagram of her saying “Hello” to the camera in Hebrew, while Gendelsman said it in Arabic.

Watch Miss Iraq Sarah Idan’s speech at the AJC Global Forum below:

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