“Adolf Hitler is a minister next to Netanyahu! The West are true collaborators,” wrote 38-year-old Mekhissi-Benabbad, who retired from athletics earlier this year.
Oudéa-Castéra said she was shocked by such comments in these tragic circumstances. “These disastrous comparisons play with the most repulsive possible and are very far from the universal values of peace that sport will always defend, as well as from the values of Olympism that you could embody for so many of our compatriots,” the minister was quoted as saying by AFP.
Mekhissi-Benabbad’s statement was also criticized by the mayor of Reims, where the European record holder was born. “To think that such an individual wore the jersey of the French team! I am ashamed of our city… Such a disaster!” Mayor Arnaud Robinet wrote on the X social network.
Mekhissi-Benabbad, who is of Algerian descent, won Olympic silver medals at the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 games, and was third in Rio de Janeiro 2016. In addition to his four 3000m steeplechase titles in 2010, 2012, 2016 and 2018, he also won the 1500m at the European Championships in 2014.
Israel has been bombing the Gaza Strip for three weeks in response to a brutal attack by Hamas on October 7 that killed 1,400 people, including women and children. According to Hamas, 8,800 people died in the shelling of the Gaza Strip, including 3,648 children. This data cannot be independently verified.