Sisterhood Blog

Is Miss Israel Beautiful?

By Noga Gur-Arieh

  • Print
  • Share Share
Miss Israel Yityish Aynaw

Former IDF officer Yityish (Titi) Aynaw, 21, was crowned Miss Israel 2013 last Wednesday night. Besides from earning the title of a beauty queen, Aynaw also made history by becoming the first Ethiopian-born woman to ever win the beauty pageant. Yet the confetti had barely finished landing on the floor of the fancy stage when social networks started buzzing with comments about whether or Aynaw was, in fact, the most beautiful women in the pageant.

“I think it is really great that an Ethiopian-born woman won our national beauty pageant, I really do. If she were also beautiful it would have been even better,” wrote an Israeli journalist on his Facebook page. Someone left the following comment in reaction to an article about her victory on the Israeli news website Mako: “It may sound racist, but it is really not— I am certain they did not pick her for her beauty. She is not that beautiful. They could have at least choose someone more beautiful than her.”

(It is worth noting that most of the reactions about her beauty had nothing to do with the color of her skin. But racism is a sad phenomenon that represents a minority opinion among ignorant people.)

Some said Aynaw was chosen in advance so that Israel could show to the world its pluralism (the Israeli Apartheid Week is at its peak worldwide). Some said that she was very beautiful, and that it was the photo of her in the newspapers which wasn’t doing justice with her, while still others argued that “beauty” is subjective. I say that beauty is more than meets the eye. After 64 years of national beauty pageants, I would expect everyone to realize that in order to become the most beautiful woman in a given country, especially in a place like Israel, you must have far more than outer beauty.

Being Miss Israel is not just a title. It demands more than simply walking without falling while wearing high-heels, or showing off your body in a swimsuit. There are countless beautiful women, but not just anyone can take on this kind of important responsibility. But Aynaw can. Over the course of 2013, she will be the face of Israel. She will represent our country at the Miss Universe competition, where she will be interviewed and may be asked some challenging political questions. She will represent a controversial state, which is not an easy task. She will devote herself to a main cause and an agenda. She will volunteer and help and assist. And she will smile through it all. Since Israel is not your average state, Miss Israel is not your average beauty queen.

Beyond waving, beyond smiling, beyond looking gorgeous in an evening gown, being a Beauty Queen means taking responsibility in representing a state you truly feel a part of and believe in. It means facing any accusation, as well as presenting the true beauty of a country — all the while saying all the right things. I don’t know Aynaw, but I do believe that if she was chosen to be Israel’s beauty queen, she must be the right person to fulfill the complicated task of being the face of Israel. My country believes in her, and therefore, so do I.

*Noga Gur-Arieh is a 22 year-old Israeli journalist who writes a blog at The Jewish Journal *


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: sisterhood, sexism, miss israel, jewish women, feminism, beauty pagaent

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Happy birthday to the Boy Who Lived! July 31 marks the day that Harry Potter — and his creator, J.K. Rowling — first entered the world. Harry is a loyal Gryffindorian, a matchless wizard, a native Parseltongue speaker, and…a Jew?
  • "Orwell would side with Israel for building a flourishing democracy, rather than Hamas, which imposed a floundering dictatorship. He would applaud the IDF, which warns civilians before bombing them in a justified war, not Hamas terrorists who cower behind their own civilians, target neighboring civilians, and planned to swarm civilian settlements on the Jewish New Year." Read Gil Troy's response to Daniel May's opinion piece:
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.