Photo: by BENJAMIN ASKINAS/ Miss Universe
The Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem, Fleur Hassan-Nahoum, thanked Miss Universe South Africa, Lalela Mswane for her bravery and "speaking truth to power".
The 24-year-old is South Africa's representative at the 70th edition of Miss Universe in Eilat, Israel on 12 December.
The annual beauty pageant has been marred with controversy since it was announced that this year's competition would be hosted in Israel, which is accused of committing atrocities against Palestinians.
"I thanked #MissUniverse South African contestant Lalela Mswane for speaking truth to power and not just being a beautiful but a very brave lady," Fleur tweeted, following a fashion event hosted in Jerusalem.
"A special moment was recorded at the event when Hassan Nahum addressed the beauty queen of South Africa, Lalela Mswane, and thanked her for the courage she demonstrated in front of BDS officials before arriving in Israel for the competition," [translated from Hebrew] reported Kol Ha'ir.
Fleur currently serves as Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem in charge of foreign relations, international economic development and tourism.
The tweet was met with mixed reactions, to which she later responded: "Getting a lot of #SouthAfrican hate messages since posting about #MissUniverse and all I can think about are the groups that come to Israel from #SA expecting to see apartheid and being very confused when they don't see and instead they experience racism from #Palestinian."
Getting a lot of #SouthAfrican hate messages since posting about #MissUniverse and all I can think about are the groups that come to Israel from #SA expecting to see apartheid and being very confused when they don’t see and instead they experience racism from #Palestinians— ??? ??? ???? Fleur Hassan-Nahoum (@FleurHassanN) December 3, 2021
Following her arrival in Israel, Lalela has expressed her "deepest gratitude for the overwhelming love" ahead of coronation night.