Miss Earth Israel Dana Zreik and Miss Earth Lebanon Salwa Akar.
Screenshot from Twitter/Ofir Gendelman
Miss Earth Lebanon loses title after photo with Israeli candidate appears
Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo (Philstar.com) - October 18, 2018 - 4:59pm

MANILA, Philippines — The title Miss Earth Lebanon 2018 was reportedly withdrawn from Salwa Akar after her photo with Miss Earth Israel Dana Zreik spread online.

The picture, taken in the Philippines, where the coronation will be held on November 3, was posted by Akar on Facebook with the caption: "My advocacy is to help people find peace and love within themselves so they can love each others and become peaceful with our mother earth.”

According to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Arabic-language spokesman Ofir Gendelman, Akar’s title was “revoked in Lebanon b/c she 'dared' to take this photo w/ Miss Israel... Lebanese apartheid must be condemned."


Ynet, an Israeli news website, said that Akar claimed that she did not know Zreik was Israeli because the Israeli-Arab contestant spoke to her in Arabic.

Miss Lebanon’s pageant organizers, however, did not accept the explanation as the photo shows Akar beside Zreik, who is wearing Israel’s sash.

To date, the two countries are known to be officially in a state of war. In 1948, Lebanon attacked Israel after joining other Arab nations against the newly formed Jewish state, which created the Palestinian refugee problem. 

On October 17, Akar posted a photo on Facebook, saying: “I don’t need a ‘title’ to be myself.. I, the Soul am peace.. and I will finish what I started with or without your support and love .. God is always beside me, he knows me more than anyone.. and he knows what’s in my heart . Om Shanti.”

Miss Earth is an annual international environmental-themed beauty pageant promoting environmental awareness. 

This year's Philippine representative, Celeste Cortesi, has so far won Bronze in the National Costume category and Silver in the Long Gown competition. She will try to win a back-to-back win for the Philippines after Karen Ibasco won the title last year.

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