Yityish "Titi" Aynaw (born 26 November 1992) is an Ethiopian-born Israeli model who won the title of Miss Israel in 2013. She is the first Ethiopian-born Jew to win the contest.[1] Aynaw is also the first black Miss Israel winner.[2]


Early life and education

Aynaw was born in the village of Chahawit in Ethiopia's Gondar Province.[3] Growing up in Gondar Province, she led a "poor" but "often happy" childhood.[4] Her father died a year or two after her birth and her mother died when she was 10 years old, leaving her an orphan.[5][4] With her brother Yellek Aynaw, she moved to Israel to live with her grandparents when she was twelve.[6] The family lived in Netanya, Israel.[5] Initially, she struggled to assimilate, having to learn a different language[7] and adapt to a new culture.[3][8] However, she soon "threw herself at it," learning Hebrew and later serving in Israel's military.[3] In high school, Aynaw served as student body president, participated in track and field, and entered a national student film competition, winning first place.[5]

After graduating high school from Kfar HaNoar HaDati (Kfar Hassidim Youth Village), Aynaw served as a Lieutenant in the Military Police Corps of the Israel Defense Forces[4] and afterwards worked in a clothing store.[3]

Miss Israel 2013

Aynaw's friend registered her for the Miss Israel competition.[3][8] She had never modelled before.[8] In February, she won and received significant publicity in both national and international press.[3] Iris Cohen, the director of the competition, explained that "[Aynaw] stands on the stage and you cannot ignore her."[5] Aynaw's win was characterized by some members of the Ethiopian-Israeli community as being positive for Ethiopian-born Israelis.[9]

On March 2013, Aynaw was invited by the US President Barack Obama and the White House administration to attend a gala with Shimon Peres and Obama as he appreciated Israel crowning a black woman as Miss Israel and Aynaw having Obama as her "role model".[2][10] According to CNN's report "African Voices," Aynaw represented Israel in Miss Universe 2013. She was later named by The Jerusalem Post as 39th most influential Jew for that year.[11]

Miss Universe 2013

Aynaw represented Israel at the Miss Universe 2013 pageant on November 9, 2013 in Moscow. Although considered a favorite,[citation needed] she failed to place in the semifinals.

Survivor: Honduras

Aynaw competed in the 7th season of the Israeli edition of Survivor (titled Survivor: Honduras). She placed 2nd.

Personal life

Aynaw stated in a CNN article that she wanted to work in the fashion industry, be a role model for her community, and have a "big family" and "give my kids the experience I never had."[3] She is currently working on establishing a community arts education center in Netanya which would serve at-risk youth.[12]

Aynaw resides in Netanya, Israel.


  1. ^ Kalman, Aaron (2013-02-28). "Miss Israel is Ethiopian immigrant". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 2013-03-22. 
  2. ^ a b Tait, Robert (2013-03-13). "Barack Obama to dine with first black Miss Israel". Telegraph. Retrieved 2013-03-22. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Sara Sidner; Earl Nurse (12 June 2013). "ityish Aynaw: The first black Miss Israel". CNN International. Retrieved 13 June 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c Shalev, Chemi (13 June 2013). "Israel’s Ethiopian beauty queen wows a stylish New York audience". Haaretz. Retrieved 13 June 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Meet Israel's Blunt, Bold Ethiopian-Born Beauty Queen". Tablet Magazine. Retrieved 2016-05-24. 
  6. ^ "Yityish Aynaw: First black Miss Israel will go to the ball". BBC Magazine. 21 March 2013. 
  7. ^ "Yityish Aynaw: First black Miss Israel will go to the ball - BBC News". BBC News. Retrieved 2016-05-24. 
  8. ^ a b c "Black Jew Yityish Aynaw Crowned Miss Israel 2013". International Business Times UK. 2013-03-01. Retrieved 2016-05-24. 
  9. ^ Futterman, Don (2013-04-12). "Israel’s Ethiopian Beauty Queen Sparks Debate". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 2016-05-28. 
  10. ^ Sterman, Adiv (2013-03-13). "Why Obama is Miss Israel's 'role model'". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 2013-03-22. 
  11. ^ "Top 50 most influential Jews 2013". Jpost. Retrieved 19 October 2013. 
  12. ^ "Miss Israel — aka ‘Titi’ — takes a Los Angeles tour | Hollywood Jew". Jewish Journal. Retrieved 2016-05-24. 

External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Lina Makhuli
Miss Israel
Succeeded by
Doron Matalon