Daniel Estrin of PRI’s The World is reporting that during President Obama’s visit to Israel, the United States’ first black president met Yityish ‘Titi’ Aynaw, Israel’s first black Miss Israel at a state dinner. Aynaw, an Ethiopian Jewish immigrant, is the newly crowned 2013 Miss Israel.
Israel has had contentious relationships with Ethiopian Jews and most recently admitted to making Ethiopian Jewish women take birth control as a condition of immigration. This most recent issue reflects the discrimination the Ethiopian Jews routinely face in Israel, an example of which is blood donation. In the 1990s, it was discovered that the Israeli national blood bank routinely destroyed blood donated by Ethiopians.
According to CNN, President Obama requested Miss Aynaw’s presence at the state dinner. Miss Aynaw was crowned Miss Israel, making history as the first black woman to wear the crown since 1950.
“Born in a small town, Titi was orphaned by the time she was about 10. She moved to Israel to live with her grandparents, who had already left Ethiopia for a new life here.
Titi said as an Ethiopian Jew, she grew up with stories about the Land of milk and honey, but her new life in Israel wasn’t all milk and honey.”
Estrin reports that upon winning the crown, Miss Aynaw stated:
“It’s time that someone from my community, someone with my skin color, who is Israeli just like everyone else, represent the country.”
Read more at PRI’s The World.