Israeli journalists repeatedly abused at World Cup: ‘Your mic is red from blood’

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Israeli journalists repeatedly abused at World Cup: ‘Your mic is red from blood’

Reporters from Channels 12 and 13 tell Jewish News they don't feel welcome in Qatar, and have been harassed numerous times by fans from Arab countries

Channel 12 reporter Ohad Hemo being harassed by Palestinian fans during a live broadcast in Qatar. Credit: Channel 12.
Channel 12 reporter Ohad Hemo being harassed by Palestinian fans during a live broadcast in Qatar. Credit: Channel 12.

Israeli journalists have told Jewish News they are being harassed and verbally assaulted by fans and locals at the World Cup in Qatar.

Channel 13’s sports reporter Tal Shorrer said he has been abused or verbally assaulted more than 50 times in the four days he has been in Qatar, mostly while doing his work covering the World Cup.

Shorrer said just a few minutes before speaking to Jewish News over the phone, an Argentinian fan pushed him when he saw the Hebrew letters on Shorrer’s microphone, shouting, “you are killing babies.”

“The best way to describe our experience so far is unpleasant. Almost every time we go on air we see fans coming up behind us with Palestinian flags, yelling ‘free Palestine’. We have also heard people calling us murderers, saying we aren’t welcome here, and that our microphone is red from blood,” Shorrer said, referring to his red Channel 13 microphone.

Shorrer said his team is mostly being harassed by Arab speaking fans, with some coming from Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria.

Ohad Hemo, Channel 12’s Arab affairs reporter who is also covering the World Cup in Qatar described similar experiences, telling Jewish News that he doesn’t feel welcome, and that he also has been harassed, mainly by fans from Arab countries.

“Three days ago I had an argument with a Lebanese fan, which was filmed and went viral. They become some sort of cultural heroes. Since then, fans from Arab countries are trying to copy that incident when they recognise me,” Hemo said.


While Hemo said he hasn’t been harassed by local Qataris, who in general are “welcoming,” he has had at least one very unpleasant experience with a fan from Saudi Arabia who pushed him and told him “this is not your place, go back (to Israel).”

Like Shorrer, Ohad was disturbed by fans from Arab countries during a live broadcast, confronting him with Palestinian flags and chants in Arabic.

Jonathan Regev, i24NEWS’ correspondent in Qatar, is also Israeli but report in English for the Tel Aviv based TV channel, which he said has shielded him from the same level of harassment as his colleagues from Israeli media.

“Most of the fans here are from Arab countries and you see a lot of Palestinian flags. Once they realised I’m Israeli I got dirty looks, but most of them don’t, since I work in English and I don’t have a microphone with Hebrew letters on it. So I don’t have the same negative experiences like my colleagues from Channel 12 and 13,” Regev told Jewish News.

“And as far as the Qatari authorities go, we are treated very well,” he added.

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