- The Washington Times - Monday, January 19, 2015

Saly Griege, Miss Lebanon, took to Facebook to say that she didn’t mean to be photographed alongside beauty queen contestant Doron Matalon, Miss Israel — that her contender jumped into the shot at the last minute.

The two nations are warring, and the picture has caused an outcry in Lebanon, where the government has forbidden citizens to associate with Israelis.

Ms. Griege posted an explanation of the photo on Facebook and Instagram: “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,” Fox News reported.

But Ms. Matalon isn’t taking the criticism well. She said on her own Facebook post that Ms. Griege’s response to the photo “doesn’t surprise me, but it still makes me sad.”

She then went on to say, Fox News reported: “Too bad you cannot 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.”

In 1993, Lebanon authorities disqualified its Miss Universe representative after Agence France-Presse put out a photograph of her locking arms with Israel’s Miss Universe candidate. Lebanon’s government, meanwhile, has kicked off an investigation into this most recent Miss Lebanon-Miss Israel photo, the New York Post reported.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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