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Israel warns fans going to World Cup in Qatar to ‘downplay your Israeli identity’

A road sign for the Qatar 2022 World Cup soccer tournament is seen next to a highway near Abu Samra, western Qatar on November 15, 2022. (Odd Andersen/AFP)
A road sign for the Qatar 2022 World Cup soccer tournament is seen next to a highway near Abu Samra, western Qatar on November 15, 2022. (Odd Andersen/AFP)

Israel is urging its citizens traveling to the FIFA World Cup this week to be less visibly Israeli.

The warning is part of a Foreign Ministry campaign, launched Wednesday, to educate the nation’s soccer fans about laws and customs in the conservative Muslim country.

The campaign website, in Hebrew and Arabic, outlines a potential minefield awaiting Israeli tourists — who don’t have a reputation for being discreet — in Qatar, a country that criminalizes homosexuality, bans drugs and restricts alcohol consumption.

The campaign asks Israelis to hide any Israeli symbols — presumably a reference to Israeli flags and Stars of David.

“The Iranian team will be in the World Cup and we estimate that tens of thousands fans will follow it, and there will be other fans from Gulf countries that we don’t have diplomatic relations with,” says Lior Haiat, a senior Israeli diplomat.

“Downplay your Israeli presence and Israeli identity for the sake of your personal security,” Haiat says, addressing the Israeli fans.

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