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Israeli soccer fans find cold welcome in Qatar

The joy of many Israeli soccer fans over traveling to Qatar for the World Cup was quickly soured by rejection from Arab soccer fans.
GIL COHEN-MAGEN/AFP via Getty Images

Thousands of Israeli soccer fans went to Qatar for the World Cup. But with the competition in its second week, their enthusiasm is increasingly replaced with disappointment. Many of the fans as well as the Israeli journalists sent to Doha to cover the games report that they feel unwelcome.

The fervor in the Arab world is undeniable, with four Arab teams qualifying for the games, held for the first time in an Arab country. With the games so close to home, Arab soccer fans feel like it’s more their event than FIFA’s. Israelis who traveled to Qatar had hoped to be part of this Middle East frenzy and joy. Instead, quite a few have reported unpleasant encounters.

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