אפריל בניון
April Benayoum during the Miss France contest on Saturday
Photo: AFP
April Benayoum during the Miss France contest on Saturday

Miss France runner-up attacked on social media for Jewish roots

Miss Provence April Benayoum, whose father is Israeli, says she was not aware of anti-Semitic hate speech until televised competition was over, says she is not fazed; police said probing comments including reference to Holocaust

Itamar Eichner |
Published: 12.21.20 , 14:03
April Benayoum, the runner-up in Saturday's Miss France competition, came under a barrage of anti-Semitic abuse on social media after revealing her father is an Israeli Jew.
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  • Benayoum, who is the current Miss Provence, said during the final that she was the daughter of an Israeli-Italian father and was proud of her Israeli roots, adding that she wanted to change the negative preconceptions people had about Israel.
    אפריל בניוןאפריל בניון
    April Benayoum during the Miss France contest on Saturday
    (Photo: AFP)
    Her words, however, prompted an immediate barrage of anti-Semitic attacks on social media.
    "Uncle Hitler forgot to exterminate Miss Provence," one person wrote on Twitter.
    אפריל בניוןאפריל בניון
    'Uncle Hitler forgot to exterminate Miss Provence,' wrote one person on Twitter
    Another commenters wrote: "Tell her Israel does not exist. It is Palestine" and "Miss Provence lost her chance at the national title as soon as she announced her father was Israeli."
    Benayoum said she was unaware of the social media posts during the live broadcast of the contest.
    "I found out about them from my relatives," she said. "It is very sad to see such behavior in 2020. I of course condemn such things, but I am not fazed by them at all."
    The winner of the contest, the new Miss France 2021 Amandine Petit criticized the attacks and expressed her support for Benayoum.
    French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin also said he was shocked by the ferocity of the attacks.
    "This will not go unanswered," he said. "It is shameful."
    אפריל בניוןאפריל בניון
    April Benayoum during the Miss France contest
    (Photo: AFP)
    Media outlets reported that the French police are investigating the attacks on Benayoum.
    Meanwhile, President Reuven Rivlin on Sunday tweeted his congratulations to Benayoum and offered his support in the face of the abuse she had received.
    "The anti-Semitic attacks against you are sickening and must not be left unanswered," Rivlin wrote.
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