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Miss Israel, Adar Gandelsman (left) with Miss Iraq, Sarah Idan.

Miss Iraq flees homeland over photo with Israeli

Death threats are being leveled the Miss Universe contestant from Iraq, Sarah Idan, after an Instagram post went viral. The selfie showed her with her friend Miss Israel with a heartfelt wish for peace.

Idan and her family had to flee U.S. Ally Iraq, which the U.S. has invested hundreds billions of over the last two decades.

Idan posed with Miss Israel, Adar Gandelsman, at a Miss Universe Iminternational Beauty Pageant, the Times of Israel reported.

Idan came under fire for posting the photo to Instagram, captioned, “Peace and Love from Miss Iraq and Miss Israel.”

“The two of those things together caused a mess for her back home where people made threats against her and her family that if she didn’t return home and take down the photos, they would remove her (Miss Iraq) title, that they would kill her,” Adar Gandelsman told Israeli TV, the paper reported.

In another Instagram post, Idan apologized to those who thought the photo was “harmful to the Palestinian cause,” clarifying that it was not a political statement, but instead meant to “express hope and desire for peace between the two countries,” the paper reported.

She added, it “does not signal support for the government of Israel and does not mean I agree or accept its policies…”

Iraq does not have formal diplomatic relations with Israel, and like most Arab nations, considers itself in a state of war with Israel–the only pure democracy in the region.

READ MORE: Check out our article on family travel to Israel!

Despite the backlash, Gandelsman said her friend did not regret her decision to post the image to social media, which she has yet to remove from Instagram, reported the paper.

“She did it to so that people can understand that it’s possible to live together,” she said.

Many consider Israel as providing the greatest amount of equality for women than in any other country in the world–including the United States. In fact, there are more female F-18 fighter pilots in Israel than there are women drivers in all of Saudi Arabia.