11/11/2022, 16.58
Send to a friend

Following a deal on direct flights, thousands of Israeli fans are expected in Qatar for the World Cup

At least 30,000 Israelis are expected with about 20,000 having already bought their tickets. Yesterday, direct flights between Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport and Hamad International Airport in Doha were announced. A team of Israeli consular officials is also expected. The use of Qatari cellular network remains an open question.

Tel Aviv (AsiaNews) –  Thousands of Israeli fans are expected to travel to Qatar for the 2022 FIFA World Cup that will begin in less than 10 days. This follows a high-level agreement between the two countries – which do not have official diplomatic relations – on direct air flights.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry announced yesterday the successful outcome of negotiations with FIFA, the international football association, over flights between Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport and Qatar’s Hamad International Airport for the duration of the competition and special visas for Israeli nationals to enter the Gulf country.

An earlier agreement reached five months ago provided for a stopover at Larnaca (Cyprus) before reaching Doha.

Under this deal, Israel football fans had to buy first a ticket to a game and then apply online for a Fan ID card. Card holders would be granted an entry visa to Qatar, enabling them to book flights and hotel rooms.

Once on board, passengers needed not to change planes and the flight crew would continue on with them. Israeli fans also had the option of travelling to Jordan, Turkey or the United Arab Emirates (since the signing of the Abraham Accords) to catch a direct flight to Qatar. 

With the new agreement, travel times and costs have been greatly reduced. Palestinians will also be able to go to the FIFA World Championship.

The new deal also allows Israel to send a team of officials who will be able to provide consular assistance to fans in Doha, with a temporary office on site for the duration of the event.

Of course, this does not mean any changes in diplomatic relations, but it is the first time that officials from the Jewish state are free to operate openly in Qatar, a country with which there have been no official ties for about 20 years.

The issue of cellular communications services has yet to be negotiated, with Israel applying for access to the Qatari network; however, Doha-based companies have so far refused to cooperate with Israeli partners.

At least, 30,000 Israelis are expected to attend the World Cup. More than 20,000 have already bought tickets, with more expected this weekend. Kick-off for the competition is next Friday, 18 November.

Send to a friend
Printable version
See also
From the Philippines to Lebanon, celebrations for world champion Italy
Football fever breaks out in Bangladesh as FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 approaches
05/06/2018 15:50
Qatar, World Cup, migrants and the missed opportunity for workers' rights
10/01/2023 20:42
Workers keep on dying during FIFA World Cup Qatar2022
Two attacks leave ten dead, but no signs as to who is behind them
17/11/2022 19:26


Subscribe to Asia News updates or change your preferences

Subscribe now
“L’Asia: ecco il nostro comune compito per il terzo millennio!” - Giovanni Paolo II, da “Alzatevi, andiamo”