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Iraqi beauty queen draws criticism for Israel visit

Sarah Idan, Iraq's 2017 Miss Universe beauty pageant contestant stands outside the Babylonian Jewry Heritage Center in Or Yehuda, Israel, on Thursday, June 14, 2018.

SEBASTIAN SCHEINER/AP

By ASSOCIATED PRESS Published: June 14, 2018

JERUSALEM — Sarah Idan, Iraq's 2017 Miss Universe beauty pageant contestant, is visiting Israel this week, a trip that has enraged people back home.

Idan was criticized and received death threats after taking a selfie with Israeli contestant Adal Gandelsman during last November's competition. She arrived in Israel this week and reunited with Gandelsman during a visit organized by the American Jewish Committee to "talk about peace."

Miss Iraq, who currently resides in the U.S., received the title in 2017 after the original winner was disqualified for being married. Her appearance in Israel drew harsh criticism from Iraqis on social media. Iraq and Israel don't have diplomatic relations.

Despite criticism, Idan says she isn't afraid, and that she visited Israel "because I want peace for everyone, for Israelis, for Palestinians."
 

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