Israel's Counter-Terrorism Bureau may warn Israelis against travelling to Qatar to attend the FIFA World Cup in November due to security concerns, it has been reported.
According to Israel Hayom, almost 15,000 Israelis have already bought tickets for the football tournament, while agencies predict that 25,000 to 30,000 Israel citizens may travel to Qatar. The newspaper quoted an unnamed security source as saying that, "This is a complicated security challenge that requires cooperation with all the Qatari authorities, something we aren't certain will happen."
The source added that it would only be after a meeting with the Qataris that Israel will be able to understand the situation and how it can be handled. "So many Israelis are scheduled to be there; it's something that has never happened in a state with which we have unstable relations, to say the least," the official explained. "After security discussions, we will know if this can be done and how. If there is no agreement over Israeli security considerations, there may be recommendations to avoid travelling to Qatar for objective reasons.
Israel describes Qatari policies as "supportive" of the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, and expects "many Iranians" to attend World Cup matches.
The report in Israel Hayom said that the Anti-Terrorism Authority recommends avoiding non-essential travel to Qatar: "In light of the Qatari street's hostility toward Israel and the presence of terrorist [sic] elements in Qatar, there is a danger to the safety of Israeli citizens who visit or stay in Qatar."
Moreover, the report predicts that the geographical proximity between Iran and Qatar and the possibility that Iran will send hundreds of thousands of its citizens to watch the World Cup poses a threat to Israelis staying in areas close to "many hostile elements".