Israeli volleyball duo make history with Qatar match


For the first time ever, an Israeli beach volleyball team was allowed to compete in an Arab country this week.

Sean Faiga and Ariel Hilman made a surprise appearance in the FIVB Qatar Open in Doha after receiving visas at the last minute.

Israel Volleyball Association CEO Yaniv Newman and coach Shaked Haimi were also granted visas. Mr Newman told Israel Radio that they had been warmly welcomed and were protected by tight security.

In the qualifying tournament, Mr Faiga and Mr Hilman won their opening round match against a Japanese pair but failed to make the main draw after losing to a Polish duo in the second round.

Although the defeat means that the Israelis will not achieve a first-ever qualification for the Olympic beach volleyball competition, their triumph was in breaking down diplomatic barriers.

Qatar broke off its low-level diplomatic relations with Israel in 2009 in protest over Operation Cast Lead and has since financed Hamas.

Under pressure from international sporting associations, however, Qatar has committed to letting Israelis compete in major sporting competitions, including the 2022 World Cup.

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive