Yityish Titi Aynaw, a 21-year old clothing saleswoman and former Israeli Army officer, was chosen Miss Israel 2013 on Wednesday night – and became the first Ethiopian-born Israeli to win the title.
Aynaw moved to Israel with her family when she was 12, and currently resides in Netanya, Israel. Acclimating to Israel was difficult at first, but she quickly picked up the language with the help of a friend.
Entered into the contest by a friend, Aynaw had no previous modeling experience, although she had aspired to go into modeling “to change the attitudes to dark-skinned models”. She hopes to become the first Ethiopian Israeli TV host, the “Tyra Banks of Israel”.
To the panel of pageant judges, she expressed her admiration for the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.:
"He fought for justice and equality, and that's one of the reasons I'm here: I want to show that my community has many pretty qualities that aren't always represented in the media.”
Minutes before winning the title, she is quoted:
"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."
It’s heartwarming to hear about Ethiopian Israelis who find success in Israel. But there are many who continue to struggle to integrate into Israeli society, and find jobs to provide for their family. You can send your encouragement, a gift of food that communicates: “You can make it, we’re here for you”. Contribute here.