The family of Sarah Idan, the woman who represented Iraq during the Miss Universe beauty pageant in Tokyo, has had to flee the country due to receiving death threats simply because she posed with the Israeli contestant Adar Gandelsman in an Instagram photo meant to show that peace was possible.
The two took the photo together, writing “Peace and Love from Miss Iraq and Miss Israel” during the pageant in Tokyo.
According to the Jerusalem Post, Gandelsman has become a personal friend of Idan, and said that Idan’s family has been forced from their home in order to flee the death threats they received over Idan taking pictures with the “enemy.”
Regardless of all the trouble this photo has caused, Gandelsman said Idan doesn’t regret it:
Gandelsman told Hadashot news that Idan said she does not regret posting the photos.
“She did it to so that people can understand that it’s possible to live together,” Gandelsman said. “In order for people to see that we can connect, in the end we are both human beings.”
Idan has not removed the photo from her Instagram account. Last month she defended the photo in a post in Arabic on Instagram, the Times of Israel reported.
“I want to stress that the purpose of the picture was only to express hope and desire for peace between the two countries,” she wrote in the post. She said the photo does not signal support for the Israeli government and apologized if the photo was harmful to the Palestinian cause.
Idan currently lives in the U.S. after having served in both the Iraqi and U.S. armed forces.