The two countries have no diplomatic relations. A total of six direct flights from Tel Aviv to Doha and six in the opposite direction will be operated during the FIFA World Cup period.
The first commercial flight between Israel and Qatar, two countries without diplomatic relations, left Tel Aviv for Doha on Sunday as part of a special schedule for the FIFA World Cup, noted an AFP journalist. The Cypriot airline Tus Airways told AFP on Friday that it had received the green light from the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority to operate six direct flights from Tel Aviv to Doha and six others in the opposite direction during the World-2022.
Sunday morning, this flight left Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv for Doha, noted an AFP journalist on the spot. “History is written with this first direct flight between Tel Aviv and Doha“said Lior Hayat, the spokesman for Israeli diplomacy, saying that this flight was the result of negotiations between the Jewish state and Fifa.
An Israeli diplomatic delegation
Israel asked its nationalsto respect local traditions and laws in order to avoid any problems during their stay in Qatar“, he added. An Israeli diplomatic delegation also arrived in Qatar to provide consular services to Israeli nationals during the World Cup.
Hadar Segal, a 35-year-old Israeli on the flight, said he had tickets to matches between England and Iran, Israel’s number one enemy, and Argentina and Saudi Arabia. does not have diplomatic relations with Israel. “I can’t travel to these countries to see their matches, meet their supporters there, so it will be (for me) the most special sporting event ever“, he testified before the takeoff of the flight. “For me, being there as an Israeli will be amazing and I’m sure I’ll feel safe in Qatar.said Roy Hessing, another Israeli supporter.
Qatar was the first Gulf state to establish trade relations with Israel in 1996, which also led to an official visit there by the then Israeli Prime Minister, Shimon Peres. But in 2000, the Jewish state’s trade office in Qatar was closed and relations between the two countries were finally severed in 2009, against the backdrop of the Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip.