Egyptian World Cup dilemma: Israel or Qatar?

Published July 13th, 2014 - 08:37 GMT

Egyptians are facing a World Cup dilemma as the only two channels that carry the games are Israeli TV and the government condemned Al Jazeera.

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."

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