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Direct flights between Israel and Qatar during FIFA World Cup

Direct flights from Ben Gurion International Airport to Hamad International Airport (HAMAD) will allow Israelis to reach Qatar without any intermediate stops or connections

Israel and Qatar have reached an important agreement to open direct flights between Tel Aviv and Doha for the football World Cup which kicks off on November 20.

Direct flights from Ben Gurion International Airport to Hamad International Airport (HAMAD) will allow Israelis to reach Qatar without any intermediate stops or connections and are expected to reduce costs for Israelis who come to watch the games.

Israel’s Prime Minister Yair Lapid appreciated the development which would enable direct charter flights between Israel and Qatar during the World Cup.

“This is great news for football fans and for all Israelis. After hard work over the course of many months, we have arranged for Israeli citizens to be able to fly to the World Cup in Qatar on direct flights, and the opening of an Israeli office in Qatar to provide services to fans coming for the World Cup,” he said.

While UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly congratulated both countries for affirming their commitment that will benefit football fans “in both Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories” and “foster stronger people-to-people links across the Middle East”, Israeli security agencies could also be keeping a close watch on the travellers.

There have been past instances of people, and even members of the Palestine soccer team, being arrested upon return from Qatar after they met Hamas activists clandestinely while they were abroad.

The deal was reached between the Israeli Foreign Affairs Ministry, the Ministry of Culture and Sports, and representatives of FIFA and the organisers of the World Cup in Qatar over the weekend.

“As the first World Cup to ever be hosted in the Middle East, a celebration of football is guaranteed and an opportunity for Israelis to build relationships and share cultural experiences with people from all over our region and the wider world,” said Alon Ushpiz, Director-General of Israel’s Foreign Affairs ministry.