MIAMI – Sarah Idan shared a selfie with her friend Adar Gandelsman on Instagram. The controversial photograph would later prompt her family to have to go into hiding.
They were both competing in the Miss Universe beauty pageant in November. Idan, who lives in the United States, was representing Iraq, and Gandelsman was representing Israel.
The photo's caption: "Peace and Love from Miss Iraq and Miss Israel."
Death threats followed. Idan's relatives in Iraq were forced to flee their country and go into hiding, the Jerusalem Post reported.
"She did it so that people can understand that it's possible to live together," Gandelsman said during an interview with Hadashot News. "In order to see that we can connect, in the end we are both human beings."
Idan has since removed the photo from her Instagram account. She also released a statement on social media explaining that the photo did not mean that she was expressing support for the Israeli government or that she wanted to harm the Palestinian cause.
"I want to stress that the purpose of the picture was only to express hope and desire for peace between the two countries," Idan wrote.