Miss Israel, Miss Lebanon Respond to Uproar Over Controversial Selfie

Miss Lebanon Miss Israel Split - H 2014
Associated Press

Both Miss Universe contestants took to social media after their photo sparked an online debate.

A photo of two Miss Universe contestants is causing an uproar online.

Miss Lebanon, Saly Greige, and Miss Israel, Doron Matalon, have sparked an online debate given the Arab-Israeli conflict.

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The image in question features Greige and Matalon posing for a photo alongside Miss Slovenia and Miss Japan. Matalon Instagrammed the photo Jan. 11 with the caption: "Good morning from us! Miss Japan, miss Slovenia, miss Lebanon & I"

On Saturday, Greige took to Facebook to explain how the photo came to be.

She wrote: "The truth behind the photo: Since the first day of my arrival to participate to Miss Universe, I was very cautious to avoid being in any photo or communication with Miss Israel (that tried several times to have a photo with me) … I was having a photo with Miss Japan, Miss Slovenia and myself; suddenly Miss Israel jumped in, took a selfie, and put it on her social media…this is what happened and I hope to have your full support in the Miss Universe contest."


Matalon also weighed in on the controversy Sunday with a Instagram post of her own: "It doesn't surprise me, but it still makes me sad. Too bad you can not put the hostility out of the game, only for three weeks of an experience of a lifetime that we can meet girls from around the world and also from the neighboring country."

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The Miss Universe pageant is set to take place Sunday, Jan. 25, from Miami and will air live on NBC.