Israel may attempt to ban its citizens from travelling to Qatar for the 2022 World Cup, citing security concerns, Israeli media reported on Wednesday.
According to the Israel Hayom newspaper, Israel’s National Security Council will meet next week to discuss issuing an advisory, calling on Israelis to avoid traveling to the Gulf nation.
Nearly 15,000 Israelis have bought tickets for the World Cup, and sports tourism agencies estimate that between 25,000 and 30,000 Israelis could travel to Qatar to enjoy the tournament, being held for the first time in the Middle East.
Israeli press reports have said there remain concerns over the possibility of Israelis being harmed in Qatar. Israel also cannot make security arrangements, as there are no diplomatic ties between Qatar and Israel.
“This is a complicated security challenge, that requires cooperation with all the Qatari authorities, something we aren’t certain will happen,” an official involved in the matter told the newspaper.
The source added that it would only be after a meeting with the Qataris that Israel would be able to understand the situation and how it could 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.”
Critics have previously pointed to Qatar’s human rights record as a reason why the World Cup, which will be held in November and December, should not be staged there.
Qatar has been accused of failing to investigate the deaths of hundreds of migrant workers over the past decade, many involved in the construction of World Cup stadia, despite widespread evidence of a link between premature deaths and unsafe working conditions.