15,000 Israelis in Qatar for the World Cup

November 23, 2022 by Michael Jankelowitz
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Almost 15,000 Israelis are attending the World Cup in Qatar, comprising 10,000 Arab citizens of Israel and 5,000 Jewish Israelis.

Flags with FIFA and Qatar 2022 World Cup logos wave in the wind. Credit: rarrarorro/Shutterstock.

The Qataris refer to the Israeli Arabs as Palestinians, which has caused much confusion to many outside of Israel who think that these Palestinians are coming from The Palestinian Authority and Gaza.

Israel is a country where football is the most popular sport among all its citizens, both Jews and Arabs alike.
The captain of the Israel National Football Team is himself a Muslim Circassian.
Other Muslim and Christian Arabs regularly play alongside Jewish teammates in the National Team.
What unites all sectors of  Israeli football fans, though, is their adoration of Argentinian superstar, Lionel Messi
During the World Cup, there will be direct flights between Ben Gurion Airport and Doha, a deal brokered by FIFA and the Israeli Government with the Government of Qatar. Similarly, Israel has been permitted to open a temporary consulate in Doha to service the needs of those Israelis attending the World Cup.
It should be noted that after the Oslo Accords, Israel had a diplomatic mission in Qatar that operated until Operation Cast Lead, when the Qataris ordered it to be closed. Nevertheless, Israel has maintained good under-the-table relations with Qatar ever since the closing of its official Diplomatic Mission. The transfer of millions of dollars to Hamas in Gaza by Qatar for humanitarian aid and payment of salaries to teachers, doctors, nurses and other civil servants is made possible due to these unofficial relations between Israel and Qatar.
Kosher foodstuffs will be available to those adhering to Kosher dietary laws as part of an initiative by Rabbi Marc Schneier of New York, who serves as a special advisor to the Amir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
Nothing beats physically attending a World Cup tournament with its unique ambience, excitement and especially the mingling with fans from all over the world.
The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs has asked that Israeli fans in Qatar be well-behaved and not arouse unnecessary antagonism among other fans and the local population.
In 2004 at the height of the previously good relations between Israel and Qatar, The Government of Qatar made available funds to build a modern soccer stadium in the Israeli Arab town of Sakhnin which today is the home ground of the Israeli premier league soccer team ‘Sakhnin’. The stadium is appropriately named Doha Stadium, appropriately honouring the capital of Qatar
Michael Jankelowitz is a Jerusalem-based commentator on World Jewry who also serves as liaison to International Media for the World Zionist Organization.

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