Contestant's family forced to flee Iraq after receiving death threats

Sarah Idan represents Iraq in the 2017 Miss Universe Pageant at The Axis at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino

The selfie which Idan posted was from Miss Universe contest which took place in Japan.

The photo has been liked over 7,000 times.

Speaking to Israeli TV, Ms Gandelsman said they had made a decision to post the picture to show that "it's possible to live together".

The huge backlash stems from the fact Iraq doesn't recognise Israel as a country and the two are technically at war.

The family of the beauty queen, who lives in the United States, left Iraq after receiving death threats over the photo of the two women, Ms Idan confirmed to The Independent. "Out of fear, they left Iraq at least until the situation calms down", Ms Gandelsman was quoted as saying by The Jewish Chronicle.

Ms Idan, 27, took a selfie with Israel's Adar Gandelsman during Miss Universe in Las Vegas, and posted it on her Instagram with a message of "peace and love".

The family of Miss Iraq have been forced to flee the country after the beauty queen posted selfies with Miss Israel.

This publication is not an endorsement of the Israeli government and it does not mean agreeing or accepting their policies in Arab world. Idan went on to apologize "to all those who consider [the picture] harmful to the Palestinian cause".

Idan had previously taken to her Instagram account and defended the photograph (in an Arabic post) which stated "I want to stress that the objective of the picture was only to express hope and desire for peace between the two countries". Idan, who lives in the US, confirmed the story with a Tweet.

"She did it to so that people can understand that it's possible to live together", Gandelsman said. The paper said Miss Israel made the comments to an Israeli TV station. "This is Miss Iraq and she's awesome", Gandelsman added. The organization disputes that, saying in a statement that they didn't say they would strip her title, but instead "told her to clarify what happened". "The government has been scary quiet", she said. These passions were inflamed even further recently when President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a move that enraged many Arab leaders who want East Jerusalem to be the capital of a Palestinian state.

She's is the first Iraqi beauty queen to participate in Miss Universe since 1972.

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