Miss IsraelPresident Obama is leaving American soil next week for a trip through Israel. He will meet with dignitaries and attend a prestigious dinner at Israeli president Shimon Peres’ home. Guess who’s coming to dinner? Israel’s first black Miss Israel, Yityish Aynaw.

The recently-crowned beauty queen was thrilled when she received the invitation, but never imagined “such a thing” could happen in her life. Now she’s reasoning its fate. The 22-year-old told The Guardian, “The first black Miss Israel to be chosen and [Obama] is the first black American President. These go together.”

She also sees the president as a role model for her groundbreaking victory.

“For me, he is a role model who broke down barriers, a source of inspiration that proves that every person really can reach any height, regardless of their religion, race or gender,” she told The Telegraph.

Aynaw will stand in these shoes for a legion of Ethiopian-Israelis, who are often marginalized in their adopted homeland. According to The Guardian, though there are more than 100,000 Ethiopians living in Israel, “the Ethiopian Jewish community is marginalized in Israel, where some rabbis have questioned the authenticity of their Jewish faith.” She emigrated from Ethiopia when she was 12 and fought to assimilate into her adopted society. Aynaw refused to adopt a Hebrew name.

“I’d never change my name,” she told Jewish publication The Tablet. “Ever.” This could have jeopardized her chances of winning the Miss Israel pageant, but the former Israeli military officer leveraged her origins to her advantage.

Aynaw told the pageant’s panel of judges: “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 colours in Israel, and it’s important to show that to the world.”

Dinner table discussion will include Aynaw telling the president he’s her inspiration – and that he should free Jonathan Pollard, an American who spied for Israel and was sentenced to life in prison.

15 Comments

  1. Velociraptor

    Is this supposed to help us forget that Israel has been sterilizing their Ethiopian Jews? I hope not. I really wish the US would stop bending over backwards for Israel when they are committing some of the worst crimes against humanity.

    • Guest1234

      I suspect this is supposed to draw our attention to it. Diplomacy is a delicate dance. And highlighting the travesties of an “ally” must be done surreptitiously, not by beating one’s chest and blowing a bullhorn. The President is a cagey diplomat, indeed.

      This ain’t checkers, ya’ll. It’s chess.

    • Ash K

      @Guest1234 Great observation, I hadn’t thought of it that way before.

    • justanotheropinion

      Cagey is the best description yet to describe POTUS.

    • Shawn

      Stupid post. Israel was providing birth control (not sterilizing) anyone who asked for the birth control. As usual, anti-Israel slander (which god forbid, anyone should “confuse” with anti-Semitism) has no basis in reality.

    • Guest1234

      Israel was making women take birth control against their will, and sometimes without their knowledge. The damage MAY not have NECESSARILY been permanent (in some cases, it may very well have been permanent.) The government admitted that the purpose of the policy was to keep the ethiopian population low so as to avoid political resistance from a growing minority. That, folks, is a government sterilization program. One is not an anti-semite for acknowledging it and speaking out against it. The Ethiopian Israelis didn’t deserve this. And, to deny that it happened and the adverse effects of it makes YOU the bigot. Not us.

    • “One is not an anti-semite for acknowledging it and speaking out against it. ”

      Exactly. Isreali advocacy groups have been speaking out about it for awhile.

    • Velociraptor

      Shawn, something tells me any Israeli information that funnels your way is pro-Israeli. I encourage you to do some research. Please, and thank you.

  2. omfg

    well dang.

    i thought they kicked them all out…

    • Allie

      Me too. I guess they made her Miss Israel to get blacks all over the world to forget about it . . . . NOT!

  3. Chic Noir

    That quote she gave to the Guardian will be blown out of proportion on Fox News, you ladies just wait.

  4. *sigh* I was so disappointed to read this quote from her:

    She attributes her beauty to her Ethiopian heritage. “We have these chiseled faces. Everything is in the right place,” she said. “I never saw an Ethiopian who was stuck with some big nose.” WTF???

    Article here: http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/126845/israels-bold-new-queen

    • Come On

      I don’t think it’s that bad. She doesn’t really look that different from many American black girls to me. Her nose is not really pointy or aquiline. It is rounded.

      But we like to claim our full lips. I don’t find that offensive. I think this would actually be more offensive to Jewish people as if she were trying to make fun of Jewish people’s noses rather than West African black people. Maybe that’s what you were talking about anyway though.

  5. Come On

    I don’t think it’s that bad. She doesn’t really look that different from many American black girls to me. Her nose is not really pointy or aquiline. It is rounded.

    But we like to claim our full lips and rounded bottoms. I don’t find that offensive. I think this would actually be more offensive to Jewish people as if she were trying to make fun of Jewish people’s noses rather than West African black people. Maybe that’s what you were talking about anyway though.

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