BEAUTY QUEEN: Yityish Aynaw
THE FIRST black Miss Israel has been invited to a state dinner in honour of President Barack Obama.
The dinner hosted by Israel's President, Shimon Peres, is to take place next Thursday (March 21) in Jerusalem.
Yityish Aynaw, became the first Israeli of Ethiopian origin to win the country's premier beauty queen contest at the International Convention Center in Haifa last month.
Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronot reported that the 22-year-old – who emigrated to Israel from Ethiopia with her Jewish grandparents after the death of her mother when she was 12 – cites the 44th US president and late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr as her influential figures.
She told the newspaper that Obama's status as America's first black president had inspired her to make him the subject of her high school graduation essay.
"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.
"I hope to become a successful model thanks to the contest and create a change in the perception of dark-skinned models," she said.
The former sales woman is to join distinguished guests such as Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister and Lt General Benny Gantz, the army chief of staff.