The Israel Football Association on Wednesday reassured Israeli football fans that they will be able to attend the 2022 World Cup in Qatar at the end of November.
The statement came in response to a Israel Hayom report earlier today that former Balad leader Azmi Bishara – who fled Israel after being suspected of spying for the Hezbollah terror organization during the Second Lebanon War in 2006 – was trying to persuade the Qatari regime to prevent Israeli football fans from attending the event.
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“These are things that are being finalized at ministerial and government level; we are not aware of any such bans,” the IFA said.
Some 15,000 to 30,000 Israelis, including some Arab Israelis, plan to travel to Qatar in late November and have already bought tickets for matches.
Qatar had previously promised FIFA, the sport’s world governing body, that fans from all countries would be allowed into the country during the World Cup.
“As long as it is allowed to enter Qatar, we do not expect there to be any problems. Security matters involving warnings and the like are within the purview of the Israeli security services, not the Football Association,” a senior IDF official said.
Meanwhile, the Qatari newspaper Al-Araby Al-Jadeedwhich Bishara helped found, also responded to the Israel Hayom report, saying: “Dr. Azmi Bishara is an Arab writer and philosopher, who has nothing to do with the things that the newspaper [Israel Hayom] attributes to him without trying to evidence or prove. Our Israel Affairs editor believes the report was part of an incitement campaign against [Arab Israelis] on the one hand, and on the other hand – based on what has recently been published in the American press and several Israeli newspapers regarding the “positive” role that Qatar is playing in easing tensions in the occupied areas” .
Bishara settled in Qatar after fleeing Israel in 2007. Under the protection of the regime, he also served as an adviser to the Qatari emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani. Qatar also funds the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies, which Bishara founded and chairs. Bishara also received a diplomatic passport from the Qatari regime.
Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani was due to visit Tehran on Thursday, an Iranian official said. IRNA reports the news agency.
Reuters reported on Sunday that the Emir of Qatar was due to visit Iran and later Germany, Britain and other European states to discuss efforts to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and energy security in Europe.
“Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani will visit Iran tomorrow to follow up on recent agreements and expand bilateral relations, including cooperation on hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup,” he added. . IRNA said Wednesday.
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