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World Cup to bring thousands of Israeli fans to Qatar under new travel deal

Israel and Qatar have no diplomatic relations, but a special visa deal will allow thousands of Israeli soccer fans attend the world tournament.
KARIM JAAFAR/AFP via Getty Images

Israel’s Foreign Ministry announced today that Jerusalem reached a deal with FIFA, the international football association, for direct charter flights between Ben Gurion airport and Hamad international airport in Qatar during the World Cup. Israel and Qatar have no diplomatic relations and there are no direct flights between the countries.

According to a prior arrangement reached five months ago, World Cup flights from Tel Aviv were to stop over in Larnaca and then continue to Doha. Israelis seeking to attend the tournament must first buy a ticket to a game and then apply online for a Fan ID card. Card holders are granted an entry visa to Qatar, enabling them to book flights and hotel rooms. Passengers would not have to change planes and the flight crew would continue on with them. Israeli fans can also travel to Jordan, Turkey or the United Arab Emirates to catch a direct flight to Qatar. 

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