Sarah Idan, Miss Iraq for 2017, was enthusiastically greeted by Israelis as she toured Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda market, The Times of Israel reported  Tuesday.
Idan rose to fame last year when she posted a selfie of her and Miss Israel, Adar Gandelsman, whom she befriended. That picture went viral during the Miss Universe pageant.
However, the photo she posted on her Instagram account with the Israeli beauty queen wasn’t well-received in her homeland. For posing with an Israeli, Idan and her family were harassed and threatened. Eventually the Idan family was forced to relocate to the United States. Idan said that because of the threats she “cannot go to Iraq anytime soon,” as long Israel and Iraq are officially enemies. “That’s a price I paid and also my family paid since they were forced to leave the country.”
Idan was invited to visit Israel by the American Jewish Committee. It took a bit of convincing by the AJC’s Israel chief Avital Leibovitz to get her to visit.
However, in Mahane Yehuda, Idan said that she felt at home, “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,” she told the Israeli news show Hadashot.
At the market she ran into numerous Israelis of Iraqi origin. One woman told Idan, “Thank you for being so brave, you are an inspiration to all the women in the world.”
Despite the enmity of the governments, Idan opined that people of Iraq and Israel are not enemies, saying “But there are a lot of Iraqi people who don’t have a problem with Israel or with the Jewish people. There are a lot of Iraqi people on my side, and I believe they are happy I am here.”
[Photo: Wochit Entertainment / YouTube ]