Israel is happy with the efforts made by Qatar regarding its requests, including kosher food and direct flights, a senior official Israeli source told The Jerusalem Post.
“We have no complaints against Qatar regarding the hosting of Israelis and Jews at the World Cup,” the source said, adding that “in fact, all Israeli demands were met,” including “kosher food, direct flights from Israel for the first time and even a temporary diplomatic representation in the country.”
“We know it has not been easy for Qatar and so we appreciate its efforts.”
senior official Israeli source
“We know it has not been easy for Qatar and so we appreciate its efforts. One can only hope that the cooperation between us will continue and even develop,” the source said.
This source, who has been in touch with Qatar for the past few years, shared that they were highly taken aback by a report in the Post that cited Jewish organizations complaining about the lack of cooked kosher food.
Report about Qatar banning cooked kosher food
Jewish organizations said earlier this week that even though they were promised otherwise, Qatar won’t allow any cooked kosher food to be sold or offered to visitors of the FIFA World Cup.
“We were promised to be allowed to create prayer spaces in order for religious Jews who came to see the games to have a place of worship,” a representative of a Jewish organization said. “We were recently told that they banned places of worship for Jews because they cannot secure them.”
According to other sources, an estimated 10,000 religious Jews from Israel and around the world were expected to arrive in Doha. “They were promised to be able to cook kosher food including kosher meat, but at the moment have only been allowed to sell cold bagel sandwiches,” they said.
Kosher-keeping fans are able to buy kosher sandwiches in Qatar. Rabbi Marc Schneier of New York – an influential Jewish figure in the Muslim world – together with a Turkish rabbi, announced the opening of the first kosher kitchen ever in Qatar in time for the opening match of the tournament.
“The FIFA World Cup is about bringing people together, interacting with different nations, cultures and faiths, and making everyone feel included and welcome,” said Schneier, who is the president of the New York-based Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, a global center for Muslim-Jewish relations.
The kosher kitchen is under the supervision of Rabbi Mendy Chitrik of Istanbul, chairman of the Alliance of Rabbis in Islamic States, and his son Rabbi Eliyahu Chitrik. The food includes the baking of the first bagels in Qatar and other ethnic Jewish delicacies.
“I’ve been in touch with the Qataris, at their request, in order to make sure that the FIFA World Cup is inclusive to Jews and Israelis,” Schneier told the Post after the report caused criticism of Qatar on social media. “I never asked for hot food,” he said. “The only person that spoke to the Qataris about this [on behalf of the Jewish community] was me.”
In addition, Iris Ambor, the head of Israel’s diplomatic delegation to the World Cup, tweeted a photo this week in which she was eating a kosher bagel with Schneier in Doha. “I had the pleasure of eating a fresh, tasty and kosher Bagel that was made in Doha Qatar, with Rabbi Marc Schneier who made it happen. Thank you Qatar,” she tweeted.
The tweet was also made in order to calm down the hosts, who have been receiving criticism from many different directions.