Miss Israel, Adar Gandelsman, shared a photo on her Instagram account calling Miss Iraq, Sarah Eedan, "amazing." Her post was liked nearly 3,000 times.
Eedan had earlier posted to Facebook describing how she is the first Iraqi woman in 45 years to represent Iraq in the Miss Universe 2017 pageant currently underway in in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Many reacted negatively to the two posing together as women from around the world gathered for the Miss Universe 2017 event later this month
YouTuber Sabrina Bennoui commented on how the photo of the two Middle East contestants was "not to everyone's taste," particularly as there are no official diplomatic relations between Israel and Iraq, noted the BBC.
— Ofir Gendelman (@ofirgendelman) November 14, 2017
Many in the Arab world expressed anger after viewing the photo.
Asaad Abukhalil, a US-based professor, tweeted, "The beauty queen of Iraq is happily posing with the beauty queen of occupation and brutality."
Eedan earlier posted to Instagram, detailing that Gandelsman sought to create an image of the two together as a symbol of hope for peace between their countries.
"She asked if I would like to take a picture together. I told her I would be glad to help spread the message. The aim of the photo was an expression of hope for world peace."
Eedan was diplomatic to those who refuted the peaceful gesture, however.
"I would like to apologise to anyone who considered the photo to be offensive to the Palestinian cause as this was not the aim behind the post, it was merely a call to peace and hope for a solution to the crisis," she said.
Ofir Gendelman, a spokesman for Israel's prime minister, applauded the photo, describing it as a "great message of hope for the region."
The Times of Israel commented that the post is an "unusual display of coexistence emanating from a divided Middle East."
In Iraq, many have called for Miss Iraq's crown be taken away.