Originally hailing from Ethiopia, 21-year-old Yityish Aynaw was awarded the title and was the first Ethiopian-born Israeli to claim the pageant win.
“It’s important that a member of the Ethiopian community win the competition for the first time,” she was recorded answering to judges during the pageant. “There are many different communities of many different colors in Israel, and it’s important to show that to the world.”
Following her victory, Aynaw received a special invitation to meet and dine with President Obama and Israeli President Shimon Peres during Obama’s upcoming trip to the Middle Eastern country.
When asked why she was given the distinct honor to attend, Aynaw said in a Jerusalem Post piece that she is “the first black Miss Israel to be chosen and [Obama] is the first black American president. These go together.”
After moving to Israel at the age of 12, working as a clothing store sales assistant and joining the army, the opportunity once seemed like a far-fetched idea and Aynaw “didn’t think that such a thing could happen to her.”
It will be a memorable experience for the young pageant winner, who credited civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. for having a large influence on who she has become.
“He fought for justice and equality, and that’s one of the reasons I’m here,” she said. “I want to show that my community has many beautiful qualities that aren’t always represented in the media.”
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