World Cup fan: I wonít go to Qatar for a bagel

I HAVE been most interested to read all that has been written in the Jewish Telegraph and elsewhere about the lack of kosher meals for thousands of Jewish football fans who have gone to Qatar to watch World Cup matches.

I must declare an interest ó I live in Israel and thought long and hard about making the trip.

After all, I was a keen football supporter in England (Arsenal was, and still is, my team) before I made the decision to move my family here.

While several of my shul friends here invested in package deals to Qatar, I held back because I was troubled about security in a country which, to put it mildly, has no love for Israel.

Even worse, it bankrolls the terrorist organisation Hamas, whose charter calls for our annihilation.

Donít worry, weíll be safe ó we will all stay together, my friends assured me. Well, I wasnít as confident as them but I found myself wavering.

If I went, I would have to hide my Jewish identity ó something I would be loathe to do. The Magen David I wear on a chain around my neck would have to be tucked inside my shirt... as if I was ashamed of it.

And I would have to ensure that not a word of Hebrew left my lips. It would be English only.

Despite all these reservations, I decided to give it a go. After all, it would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

But just as I was about to call the travel agent, the stories about cooked kosher meals not being available began to surface in newspapers both in Israel and abroad, including the Jewish Telegraph.

Let me state here that I do not eat anything that is not kosher. And I did not fancy spending my time in an unfriendly country without anything substantial to eat.

Yes, I read in the JT online that there would definitely be kosher bagels and challa available, supervised by a rabbi.

Well, I am afraid that is what I call a snack, not a meal.

So I asked myself: Do I love soccer enough to fly to a hostile environment for a bagel? The answer has to be a resounding No.

So here I am in the safety of my Tel Aviv home watching the World Cup on TV like millions of fans everywhere.

I am sure I made the right decision.

Mendel Stern,
Kfar Saba,
Tel Aviv,

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