Iraq’s representative at the 2017 Miss Universe pageant — whose Instagram photo last year with her Israeli counterpart forced her family to flee the Middle Eastern country — was cheered and hugged this week by shoppers at an iconic Jerusalem market during an extraordinary visit to Israel.
“It actually felt weird — the people look like my people. And the city looks like Damascus, like Syria, and I’ve been there, so everything seems familiar to me,” Sarah Idan said in a TV item aired Tuesday by Hadashot.
While Idan toured the Mahane Yehuda market, she encountered numerous Israelis of Iraqi origin, one of whom told her she would like to go back to Iraq.
“Inshallah,” or God willing, was Idan’s answer.
Idan was showered with praise, with one Israeli woman telling her: “Thank you for being so brave, you are an inspiration to all the women in the world.”
The 26-year-old Iraqi-born contestant lives in the United States, but her family was forced to relocate from the Arab country after a photo she posed for together with Miss Israel Adar Gandelsman went viral last year.
At the time, she withstood considerable pressure and refused to remove the Instagram image.
Here she is in Mahane Yehuda:
Idan spoke at the AJC conference:
Imagine the reaction from an Arab audience at her vision of a future where Jews could visit Arab countries and Arabs could visit Tel Aviv.
She was also interviewed on i24:
Look how enthusiastic the entire country is about the idea of peace with the Arab world, about a vision of normalcy between Israel and its neighbors, about a young woman who risked her life in order to promote peace between ordinary people.
Compare to the uproar in Arab media whenever either an Israeli manages to visit an Arab country, or when some of theirs visits Israel.
With all the demonization of Israel as a violent colonialist regime at the UN, at NGOs and in the media, this episode shows very clearly that the real problem is this: Only Israel, as a nation, wants real peace with the other side.
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