The Lebanese government has decided not to strip a beauty queen of her crown for appearing in a photograph with her Israeli counterpart, The Telegraph reported.
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Saly Greige, who is representing Lebanon in the Miss Universe contest in Miami, appeared a photograph published on Facebook last week by Miss Israel Doron Matalon.
“According to the information we obtained, Miss Lebanon did not have bad intentions that necessitates her being stripped of her title or punishment,” said Michel Pharaon, Lebanon’s Tourism minister, in a televised press conference on Friday.
The minister added that Greige should be supported because she "has been the subject of a racist and random campaign.”
Greige, for her part, said that she had been ambushed by Matalon.
“From the first day I arrived at the Miss Universe pageant I was very careful not to take any pictures with Miss Israel, who tried repeatedly to take pictures with me,” Greige wrote on Instagram. “While I was preparing with Miss Slovenia and Miss Japan to get our photograph taken, Miss Israel jumped in and took a selfie with her phone and posted it on social media."
Her agent went further, claiming that Greige had to “run away” several times because she was chased by Matalon for a joint photograph.
"You know, I really want to make a difference," Matalon told to Hollywood Access, a television channel. "I want people to talk about it I'm just happy that I'm here, and I'm sure [Miss Lebanon] is happy here to be together in this situation, a once-in-a-lifetime [opportunity]."