First black Miss Israel Yityish Aynaw to attend dinner with Obama

(Ariel Schalit/AP)

The White House insisted on inviting Yityish Aynaw—Israel’s first black beauty queen—to a gala dinner celebrating U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to the Holy Land this week.

The 21-year-old’s crowning last month marked a significant step forward for Israel. The country—founded as a refuge from anti-Semitic persecution—has long treated its Jewish Ethiopian émigrés as second-class citizens, or worse: this year, the Israeli health ministry is slated to begin an inquiry into allegations that black Falasha Jews were unwittingly injected with a contraceptive to limit their numbers.

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