Qatari media largely ignores display of Israeli flag, national anthem in Doha

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The World Gymnastics World Cup held in Doha has been largely ignored by Qatari media while the Israeli national anthem was played and the country’s flag raised following the gold medal win by Israeli athlete Alexander Shatilov.

Shatilov won a gold medal on the first day of the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) ART Individual Apparatus World Cup finals in Doha.

A video of Shatilov receiving his gold medal while the “Hatikvah” was being played was shared by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Twitter account in Arabic.

“Watch: the Israeli national anthem in Qatar… This is a great achievement for Israeli sports,” the tweet read.

Last year, Qatar permitted the display of Israel’s national symbols during the 2018 Artistic Gymnastics World Cup.

The news that the Israeli national anthem would be played in an Arab country drew criticism on social media at the time, with many calling it a “declared normalization.”

Qatari news outlets have accused Saudi Arabia of normalizing ties with Israel. However, no official Israeli delegation has ever visited the Kingdom and there are no diplomatic relations between the two countries.

In August, UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said that “Doha spreads and promotes normalization rumors about its neighbors while its contacts are documented and ongoing (with Israel).”

Israeli sources said Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman met secretly with Qatar’s Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani last June.