On Thursday, Sarai Idan, who was Miss Iraq, lauded Israel for its commitment to help the Kurdish people in the face of what Turkish dictator Recip Erdogan’s brutal assault on them. Israeli prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted Thursday morning, “Israel strongly condemns the Turkish invasion of the Kurdish areas in Syria and warns against the ethnic cleansing of the Kurds by Turkey and its proxies. Israel is prepared to extend humanitarian assistance to the gallant Kurdish people.”
Israel strongly condemns the Turkish invasion of the Kurdish areas in Syria and warns against the ethnic cleansing of the Kurds by Turkey and its proxies.
Israel is prepared to extend humanitarian assistance to the gallant Kurdish people.
— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) October 10, 2019
Idan commented, “And people wonder why I stand with Israel … heard many countries say ‘They condemn’ but not a single one said they will extend assistance to #Kurds.”
— Sarai (Sarah Idan) Miss Iraq (@RealSarahIdan) October 10, 2019
As The Daily Wire reported in December 2017, at the Miss International Beauty Pageant, Idan posed for photos with Miss Israel, Adar Gandelsman, for their respective Instagram accounts. Idan’s caption read: “Peace and Love from Miss Iraq and Miss Israel.” Gandelsman wroteon her Instagram post, “Get to know, this is Miss Iraq and she’s amazing.” She added on Facebook, “Practicing bringing world peace.”
The backlash from parts of the Muslim world targeting Idan, 27, was so fierce that she posted a defense on Istagram, writing in Arabic on Instagram, “I want to stress that the purpose of the picture was only to express hope and desire for peace between the two countries,” but adding that the photo did not indicate support for the Israeli government and offering an apology if the photo was harmful to the Palestinian cause.
It didn’t help; as the Jerusalem Post reported. Gandelsman, who had become good friends with Idan, told Hadashot that Idan’s family, which still lived in Iraq, had been forced to flee the country after receiving death threats for Idan’s photos with Gandelsman as well as Idan’s posing in a bikini.
Gandelsman added that Idan said she did not regret posting the photos. She said, “She did it to so that people can understand that it’s possible to live together. In order for people to see that we can connect, in the end we are both human beings.”
Seven months later, months after they had posted the selfie together at the Miss Universe competition Miss Israel and Miss Iraq reunited in Jerusalem. Idan joined Gandelsman, for dinner in Jerusalem, then posted a picture online captioned, “Sister’s reunion.” The two also posted a video in which Idan told her followers “Shalom” while Gandelsman told her followers, “Salaam.” Idan told Israel’s Channel 2 News, “I don’t think Iraq and Israel are enemies; I think maybe the governments are enemies with each other. There’s a lot of Iraqi people that don’t have a problem with Israelis.” She told CNN, “When I posted the picture I didn’t think for a second there would be blowback. I woke up to calls from my family and the Miss Iraq Organization going insane. The death threats I got online were so scary. The director of the Miss Iraq Organization called me and said they’re getting heat from the ministry. He said I have to take the picture down or they will strip me of my title.”