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Miss Earth Lebanon loses crown over photo with Miss Earth Israel

Lebanon's candidate for the Miss Earth 2018 title lost her crown after she had a picture taken with her counterpart from Israel.

According to Athena Imperial's report on GMA's 24 Oras Weekend, 26-year-old Lebanese beauty queen Salwa Akar will no longer be able to take part in Miss Earth 2018's coronation night at the Mall of Asia Arena on November 3.

This was after Lebanon stripped her of her title last week because she posed for a picture with Miss Israel Dana Zreik.

The two neighboring Middle East nations are in conflict, particularly along their shared border, years after the end of the 2006 Israel-Lebanon War.

In a tweet on October 17, Ofir Gendelman, spokesperson of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, condemned the revocation of Akar's title, even likening it to "apartheid" or racial segregation.

"Miss Lebanon Salwa Akar...had her title revoke today in Lebanon because she 'dared' to take this photo with Miss Israel," he said in a tweet that included a photo of the two beauty queens.

"Miss Israel Daza Zreik is an Israeli-Arab, who proudly represents her country. Lebanese apartheid must be condemned," he added.



The dethroned beauty queen, however, said in a Facebook post, "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."

A similar issue arose during the Miss Universe 2015 pageant, when Israel and Lebanon's candidates also had a picture taken together during preparations in Miami.

Tension remains strong between Israel and Lebanon despite an ongoing ceasefire. — Dona Magsino/BM, GMA News