Qatar World Cup: How can Israelis stay safe and out of trouble?

The "Safe World Cup" campaign was launched to instruct Israelis on how to navigate Qatar's strict laws and stay out of trouble.

 People walk past an illuminated soccer ball ahead of the FIFA 2022 World cup soccer tournament at Katara Cultural Village in Doha, Qatar November 15, 2022. (photo credit: REUTERS/FABRIZIO BENSCH)
People walk past an illuminated soccer ball ahead of the FIFA 2022 World cup soccer tournament at Katara Cultural Village in Doha, Qatar November 15, 2022.
(photo credit: REUTERS/FABRIZIO BENSCH)

The Foreign Ministry released a guide for Israelis on Wednesday instructing them on how to behave in Qatar while there for the World Cup that starts on Sunday.

The guide is part of the "Safe World Cup" campaign which was introduced by a video that is narrated by Israel's national soccer team's captain Tal Ben-Haim.

"Drinking alcohol or using drugs is strictly forbidden," he says in the video. "The prison sentences are long and the fines are high."

As Qatar is a Muslim country, it is illegal to drink alcohol in public or be drunk in public, and this law will be upheld at the World Cup.

The 40-second video does not cover all the rules and recommendations, but the campaign's website has an extensive guide to how to behave in Qatar.

 Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - A football fan with an Argentine flag is photographed in Doha, Qatar - November 15, 2022.  (credit: KAI PFAFFENBACH/REUTERS) Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - A football fan with an Argentine flag is photographed in Doha, Qatar - November 15, 2022. (credit: KAI PFAFFENBACH/REUTERS)

Visa

Generally, Israelis cannot visit Qatar, but as part of the conditions to host the World Cup, the country had to agree to allow people of all nationalities to attend the games.

Entry to the country will only be granted to Israelis who have the special Hayya visa that was issued to Israelis only between the dates of November 15 and 18.

The visa can be applied for at this link: https://hayya.qatar2022.qa/ 

A special note for people with dual citizenship: Israelis who travel on a passport of a different nationality and get into trouble will not receive aid as Israeli citizens. If you do get into trouble and have traveled on your other passport, you will need to contact the embassy for that nationality for help.

Hotels

Due to the vast numbers of people expected to arrive for the World Cup, Qatar is expected to experience a shortage of hotel rooms, therefore, the Safe World Cup campaign recommends buying travel packages that include accommodation.

Special note regarding alcohol: Qatar has dry hotels in which alcohol is forbidden and wet hotels where alcohol can be drunk only when bought directly from the hotel. Take notice of which hotel you're staying in and behave accordingly.

Crime and Punishment

Qatar is considered one of the safest places in the world with low crime rates, but at the same time, Israelis are recommended to try to hide their Israeliness so as to be safer.

It is also important to bear in mind that both the law and punishment are stricter in Qatar, so extra caution is urged in regard to arguments, swearing and public behavior.

LGBTQ+

Homosexuality is strictly forbidden in Qatar and can lead to a death sentence, therefore LGBTQ+ people are asked to be careful with how they interact with each other in public.

Health

Make sure that any medications you carry with you are legal in Qatar and that you have the prescription with you at all times.

Qatar requires any foreigners over the age of 12 to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. If your last dose was more than six months ago, a booster will be required. As well as the vaccine, a PCR test is required up to 48 hours before the flight.

The emergency number in Qatar is 999.

Transportation

The legal driving age in Qatar is 18, and sometimes an international driver's license is required, and a national license is not enough.

Qatar has organized bus and train lines that are safe and reliable.

Caution is urged when taking taxis. Make sure your driver is licensed and doesn't pick up additional passengers on the way. Women traveling in taxis alone have to sit in the back seat.