Israeli consulate officials at World Cup dealt with 1 arrest, 9 minor incidents
'We are full of appreciation for the Israeli visitors who took responsibility for themselves and acted with discretion,' says Israel's World Cup delegation
Israeli consulate officials were tasked with only a handful of incidents involving citizens of Israel in Qatar during the World Cup, Israel’s Foreign Ministry said Sunday after the soccer contest came to a dramatic end.
Israel’s diplomatic staff in Doha said it handled only 10 incidents, including one medical emergency in which an Israeli was hospitalized before being flown back to the Jewish state. Most of the other cases involved lost or stolen passports.
There was also one Israeli arrested over a minor incident, but was released shortly after.
Thousands of Israelis flew directly to the Gulf Arab state for the World Cup, despite Israel and Qatar not having official diplomatic relations, and special arrangements were made to place there a team of diplomats from Israel to deal with any problems.
“We are happy to say that the entire event went off with virtually no problems,” said Iris Ambor, head of the Israeli delegation at the World Cup. “We are full of appreciation for the Israeli visitors who took responsibility for themselves and acted with discretion throughout.”
According to FIFA, 4,500 incoming fans registered as Israelis. However, Israel’s Foreign Ministry claimed that up to 10,000 made it there, saying thousands used non-Israeli passports to avoid potential security problems.
Israelis who went to Qatar were warned beforehand to keep a low profile and not make their nationality or religion clear. Israel’s Foreign Ministry also launched a website meant to educate fans and raise awareness of sensitive issues they might have encountered.