Report by Paz Hasdai, messenger of Walla!
Sports for Qatar, after Iran's victory over Wales (photo: Paz Hasdai, video editing: Assaf Drori)
So what is the truth regarding the treatment of Israelis in Qatar?
The video of reporter Uri Levy giggling and frolicking alongside Iranian fans in coexistence, or the stories of Ohad Hamo and Dor Hoffman about bullying and threats from locals?
It's easy to say that the "truth" is somewhere in the middle and to mention that the vast majority of people here are kind and kind and not looking for trouble, but unfortunately, the picture is much more worrying than encouraging.
Harassment may be rare, but when it happens it hurts.
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The story may already be getting tired.
From the side it looks a bit like the whining of Israeli journalists, who look for trouble and create Guy Hochman style provocations and then are surprised that they are greeted with anger and are beaten.
Perhaps an impression is created that Israeli journalists are looking for headlines, and are happy to get into trouble to say "we told you so" about the violent Arabs, and on the way to be brave thanks to their commitment to their dangerous work in the enemy's rear, all in order to bring a reliable report to the people of Zion.
But unfortunately, you don't have to provoke anyone to feel threatened.
No need to climb on tables and scream.
It's enough to stand with a microphone that says "Walla!" in Hebrew, and the problems come by themselves.
In the easy case, these are some guys with Palestinian flags who are disturbing the work.
In the least light case, one of them also gives a small flick on the neck with the cap.
The phenomenon has already become a hobby of the locals, Palestinian flags are seen more and more in the fields, and videos are running on the internet full of pride about the way they interfere with Zionist broadcasts.
Not bad, but not pleasant either.
Wynette's photographer recommended that I do the same and remove the identifying sponge from the microphone.
This is probably the solution - to hide the identity, to hide.
No one is surprised.
We were warned in advance.
That was expected.
We were afraid, and rightly so.
The details were known: we are in a hostile, hostile Muslim country that finances Hamas, which routinely boycotts us, refuses to let Israelis into its territory or to maintain relations with us, and this time it "compromised" and only allowed us in under the pretense of a peace-seeking country because of the World Cup.
Besides, what's a little threats and bullying.
Israel also feels threatened.
Even in Jerusalem and Be'er Sheva Muslims harass Jews.
The conflict is still a conflict.
How can you even dare to complain about a hostile attitude in Qatar, when during the World Cup itself in Israel, Israelis are murdered in terrorist attacks.
Enmity never ends, and it is everywhere, including in our house.
Who cares about the whining of a few journalists.
The point is the arena.
When things like this happen during an international celebration like the World Cup, it's a little more jarring.
We knew, prepared and warned, but now, when the moment comes, it chokes a little in the throat.
There is something sad about being shown that everyone is part of the party, and only we are being harassed (LGBTs too). All the journalists and reporters speak into the microphone in a loud and proud voice, and only we have to put down the sponge and be careful. Say we are from Malta, or from Portugal, just to be safe. To protect ourselves. And all we wanted was to talk about sports, everything else is not interesting. Not pleasant, not terrible, just a shame.
Another country that needs to deal with politics instead of football is of course Iran, whose players also feel that they are in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.
The game hasn't started yet, and all eyes are on them, everyone is analyzing whether they sang the national anthem or just mumbled it, whether they gave in to pressure and received threats from the Revolutionary Guards, and perhaps decided to stop the protests and play football for their homeland.
Either way, they know their every decision will cause controversy and uproar.
After the previous game the whole world was talking about the protests, this time they again went for a gagging policy.
According to claims by fans, security guards did not allow signs with the name of Mahsa Amini, the symbol of the struggle, to be waved in the stadium.
The players also played it safe and sang the national anthem to calm the crowd and stabilize the ranks a bit.
Much to their delight, they met a flightless Wales and Gareth Bale unable to run, and achieved the important victory.
The stadium erupted with the shrill sounds of drums and whistles, and over 20,000 Iranians went out to celebrate.
This time at the end, the protests and demonstrations for women's rights were not felt, the all-pervading football pushed the protests to the side.
The joy was too great to bother with politics.
This time football created a distortion: the distraction and escapism it provided was perceived by many as a curse, the suppression of the sad reality.
The celebrations lasted for a long time.
Thousands of fans shouted and sang, jumped and went wild, and held a march around the stadium while waving the flags and chanting "Iran, Iran!".
Suddenly I met a frightened Israeli journalist who told about a threatening encounter with an Iranian, as a result of which he was literally forced to run back into the stadium, desperately seeking protection from a Qatari policeman.
In the meantime, the camera crews from around the world were deployed and documented the celebration.
But for some of the Israelis the giant procession of the Iranians was a terrifying sight, and they just wanted it to end already so they could return home in peace.
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