By HAYLEY PETERSON
PUBLISHED: 21:36 EST, 22 March 2013 | UPDATED: 01:31 EST, 23 March 2013
President Obama on Thursday met Israel’s reigning beauty queen, who later called him ‘a world-class hunk, charming and an extraordinary gentleman.’
Obama and Yityish Aynaw, an Ethiopian Jewish immigrant to Israel, dined together at an official state dinner in Jerusalem, where the White House had requested her presence. Obama was in Jerusalem as part of a four-day trip to Israel, Jordan and the West Bank.
Aynaw, who goes by ‘Titi,’ made history a couple weeks ago by becoming the first black ‘Miss Israel.’
After the dinner, Aynaw gushed about meeting Obama in an interview with the Israeli publication Yediot Aharonot.
‘He’s an exciting man, a world-class hunk, charming and an extraordinary gentleman,’ she said.
Aynaw and Obama were introduced by Israeli President Shimon Peres.
‘You are very beautiful,’ Obama told her, according Israeli media. ‘And Michelle would have been very happy to be as tall as you are.’
Aynaw said she recalled learning about Obama in high school.
‘I did a research project about him in high school and I know he is a very powerful man, charismatic, and he achieved a lot on his own by virtue of the fact that he believed in himself and this stuck with me,’ she told CNN.
At 22 years old, Aynaw was working as a sales clerk when a friend entered her name into Israel’s beauty pageant.
She has lived in Israel since she was 10, when she was orphaned and went to live with her grandparents.
She recalled going to an Israeli boarding school without knowing a word of Hebrew and said some of the kids there made fun of her Ethiopian name.
‘What is “Yitayish?” This is my name. but it sounds weird,’ she told reporter Daniel Estrin in an interview. ‘There were times they’d call me “Tayish.” In Hebrew that’s a kind of animal. You know?’
Immigrant: Aynaw has lived in Israel since she was 10, when she was orphaned and went to live with her grandparents.
More than a quarter of all Israeli TV viewers watched Aynaw, who became an army officer after graduation, win her crown a couple weeks ago.
‘It’s time that someone from my community, someone with my skin color, who is Israeli just like everyone else, represent the country,’ she said. ‘I feel like I made history, that I blazed a trail.’