By Sandra Birungi
The first black Miss Isreal, Yityish Aynaw is going to dine with the US president, Barrack Obama.
21-year-old Aynaw first came to Israel at 12 just after losing her mother; her father had passed away years before. She was left completely orphaned, together with her older brother and her relatives, who were already in Israel took her and her brother in.
Speaking about being invited to the diner, Ms. Aynaw said, “I couldn’t believe that one of the most influential people in the world, the head of such an important state, would invite someone like me to attend such an important event. It has only just now sunk in and I can understand that it’s happening.” She went on to add saying, “It is a great honour not just for me, but the other people that I represent.”
President Obama is in Israel for the first time ever since taking office as the US president in a bid to improve relations between Israel and Pakistan.
Talking about the transition from being an Ethiopian to being Isaeli, Ms. Aynaw said it was not easy but she had to cope. “It wasn’t easy because I couldn’t speak the language and I was put into a regular class without any help. It was a new language. It was a new culture. Quite often children even laughed at me,” she says, though she adds that she also met many kind people.”
Before she was selected as Miss Israel on 27 February, she was a manager in a shoe shop in Netanya. “For people from my country of origin it is a source of great pride,” she says of her new title.
Aynaw consideres President Obama one of her inspirations too. “I was influenced and inspired by Obama. Like him, I was also raised by my grandmother. Nothing was handed to me on a plate and like him 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.”