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Thursday, February 28, 2013 

And the winner of this year's Miss Israel beauty contest is...

Yityish Aynaw, a black Ethiopian-Israeli who once served in the army, the first lady of black descent to win the local pageant:
Yityish Aynaw, a former Israeli army officer, became the first Ethiopian-Israeli to win the Miss Israel pageant.

A panel of judges awarded the title to Aynaw, a 21-year-old model who came to Israel about a decade ago, at the International Convention Center Haifa on Wednesday.

"It's important that a member of the Ethiopian community wins the competition for the first time," she was quoted by Israeli media as telling the judges in response to a question. "There are many different communities of many different colors in Israel, and it's important to show that to the world." Aynaw came to Israel with her family when she was 12. Acclimating to Israel was difficult at first, Aynaw said, but she picked up the language quickly with the help of a friend.

She has been working as a saleswoman at a clothing store since her army discharge.

During the competition, Aynaw cited the slain American civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. as one of her heroes.

"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,"
she said.
She is most definitely deserving of her victory, and I'm proud of and congratulate her, and thank the judges for choosing her too. Here's an extra report on The Jewish Press from a reporter who lives in the same city as her.

Update: more on YnetNews and Times of Israel.

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