Egyptian World Cup dilemma: Israel or Qatar?
For Egyptians, not watching the World Cup is not an option, but for the final game they are being forced to choose between what they see as the lesser of two evils. (AFP/File)
Click here to add Ahmed Saad as an alert
Disable alert for Ahmed Saad,
Click here to add Egyptian government as an alert
Disable alert for Egyptian government,
Click here to add Los Angeles Times as an alert
Disable alert for Los Angeles Times,
Click here to add Mohamed Morsi as an alert
Disable alert for Mohamed Morsi,
Click here to add Muslim Brotherhood as an alert
Disable alert for Muslim Brotherhood,
Click here to add Osama Khalifa as an alert
Disable alert for Osama Khalifa
In Egypt, World Cup fans can pay $300 for the Qatari beIN channel, associated with Al Jazeera, or they can watch Israeli TV, which aside from being politically off-putting to Egyptians, is also in Hebrew. Some Egyptians have requested the channel add Arabic commentary to their coverage.
"I've watched all the World Cup games on that Israeli channel, may God forgive me," 35-year-old baker Ahmed Saad told the Los Angeles Times. "I'm completely against buying or using any Israeli product whatsoever, but what can we do? ... It's better to spend $300 on my kids."
The exorbitant price is not the only thing stopping Egyptians from turning to Qatar's services. Al Jazeera was deemed to be assisting the Muslim Brotherhood by the Egyptian government after the ousting of former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi. A sportswriter in Egypt accused the network of a "conspiracy to force Arab nations to watch Zionist channels" and asked people to refrain from watching the World Cup.
"There is no big difference, really -- Qatar is as bad as Israel when it comes to their political views of Egypt," said 26-year-old Osama Khalifa. "I don't feel any guilt over watching the games on an Israeli channel."