Doron Matalon, the Miss Israel representative at the Miss Universe competition, has expressed regret that Miss Lebanon, Saly Greige, responded negatively after the two were photographed together.
Last week, as all the girls arrived in Florida for the 63rd iteration of the pageant finale and were getting to know one another, Matalon snapped an impromptu “selfie” with Greige, Miss Slovenia Julija Bizjak and Miss China Du Yang.
The friendly photo was quickly posted to one of Matalon’s social media accounts, where it quickly sparked a firestorm of criticism against Greige. Many in Lebanon demanded that she be stripped of the title of Miss Lebanon and be recalled in disgrace.
Greige quickly took to Facebook to insist that she has absolutely not formed a friendship with the Israeli beauty queen, nor had she consented to being photographed with Matalon.
“…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),” she wrote. “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.”
Lebanese and other Arab media accused Matalon of a nefarious “photobombing” against an otherwise innocent Greige.
In a post to Instagram, Matalon was sorrowful over what has become an all too common occurrence any time Israelis try to befriend Arabs from neighboring countries while attending events abroad.
“It doesn’t surprise me, but it still makes me sad,” wrote Matalon. “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.”
PHOTO: From left to right - Matalon, Greige, Bizjak and Yang.