In their bid to host the 2022 World Cup soccer tournament, officials in the Muslim state of Qatar have said they’d welcome Israel’s national team in the competition even though, like other countries on the Arabian peninsula, Qatar does not currently recognize the Jewish state. It’s a positive step for Israel-Arab relations in the region and stands in contrast to a move earlier this year by Dubai, one of the United Arab Emirates, which refused to issue an entry visa to Israeli tennis player Shahar Pe’er—a decision that caused an international outcry. For its part, Qatar is known as one of the more liberal Muslim states; though restricted, alcohol consumption is not entirely banned and would be sold at the tournament as well, officials told Reuters. Of course, this could also all just be some easy good-faith gestures on Qatar’s part that won’t require any actual action: the last time Israel did well enough in World Cup qualify rounds to earn an appearance at the elite soccer competition was in Mexico in 1970.
Qatar would let Israel attend World Cup [Reuters]