Little Known Black History Fact: Yityish Aynaw, First Black Miss Israel

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  • Yityish Aynaw, the first black Miss Israel will be seated across from the first black President of the United States at the dinner table this week in Israel. President Obama is due to speak at the Jerusalem’s International Convention Centre this week. Yityish Aynaw is of Ethiopian descent with Jewish grandparents. Her name is Arabic and means “looking toward the future.” She refused to take on a Hebrew name, as most immigrants have in Israel.

    Aynaw moved to Israel at age 12 after her mother passed away. She became a part of the Ethiopian Jewish community in Israel, which includes a population of over 100,000 people. While a large number of the group exists, there still remains a racial divide among the Israeli and Ethiopian Jewish community. Recent reports exist that include allegations toward the Israeli health ministry who has been accused of injecting Ethiopian Jewish women with contraceptives for population control.

    Yityish Aynaw hoped to be a link between the groups, as she stated in her pageant response, “It’s important that a member of the Ethiopian community win 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.” – (Source: The Guardian, UK).

    Aynaw served with the Israeli army then worked as a sales assistant before running for Miss Israel. Ironically, she wrote a high school term paper on President Barack Obama, who was her inspiration.  Upon receiving the crown, she also cited the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    The 21-year old pageant queen and President Obama will dine at the home of Israeli President Shimon Peres this Thursday along with the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Army Chief of Staff Lt. General Benny Gantz and Knesset speaker, Rueven Rivlin.

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