First Black Miss Israel Dines With President Obama at State Dinner
Yityish Aynaw, the first black Miss Israel, dined with President Obama at a state dinner at Israeli President Shimon Peres' home. The White House asked for her to attend the dinner. Yityish immigrated from Ethiopia when she was twelve years old. She has served in the Israeli army and was working as a retail clerk when a friend entered her into the contest.
She says that President Obama is one of her role models. She read his book and saw similarities in their lives: she was raised by her grandmother. She explained to The Guardian, "Like him, I was also raised by my grandmother … and I also had to work very hard and long to achieve things in my life. To this day, he inspires me just as he inspires the rest of the world." She also names Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as one of her role models.
Her win at the pageant was a surprise. She told the judging panel during the spoken word portion of the contest,
"It's important that a member of the Ethiopian community wins the competition for the first time.
There are many different communities of many different colors in Israel, and it's important to show that to the world."