Valerie Weigmann defends Miss Lebanon on controversial selfie

Miss World Philippines 2014 Valerie Weigmann (Jory Rivera)

Miss World Philippines Valerie Weigmann defended Miss Universe-Lebanon Saly Greige, who is being criticized for saying that her selfie photo beside Miss Universe-Israel Doron Matalon happened because the latter “suddenly jumped in” to join her (Saly), Miss Slovenia and Miss Japan in the picture taking.

The photo sparked mixed reactions because Lebanon and Israel’s long-standing conflict has made it taboo for the Lebanese to interact with Israeli citizens.

'Harsh, painful reality'

Valerie said, “If people were really motivated by a desire for peace, then they should avoid snap judgments and knee jerk reactions. Under Lebanese Law, interaction with an Israeli citizen is a criminal act. To most of us, it is a divisive, if not abhorrent law, which must be struck down. For Miss Lebanon, it is a HARSH AND PAINFUL REALITY, which she would be returning to.”

The Fil-German beauty added that it is hard to be in the position of Miss Lebanon, who she thinks is only avoiding “prosecution or persecution.”

“It is easy for us to judge her, but I ask everyone to put themselves in her shoes. If you lived under such a regime, would you have the temerity to violate such laws? I know @salygreige_officialpersonally, she was my yellow team mate in Miss World. She is a sweet, caring person, and I believe that she may only have been trying to avoid prosecution or persecution. #stopjudging,” Valerie posted.

Valerie also included an article explaining the law.

Miss Israel reacts

Miss Israel, meanwhile,  shared her thoughts on the different reactions to the controversial photo.

“It doesn't surprise me, but it still makes me sad. 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.@salygreige_official @miss_israel @missunews@missuniverse @missuniversusa #lebanon #israel#missuniverse2014,” she posted on Instagram.

Avoiding communication

It will be recalled that Miss Lebanon revealed that she has been avoiding Miss Israel since the Miss Universe activities started.

“To all my supporters and Lebanese citizens, I would like to thank you indeed for your continuous support of Miss Lebanon at the Miss Universe contest …The truth behind the photo: 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),” Saly said in her Facebook post.
Miss Universe will be held in Miami, Florida on January 25 (US time).