In a special interview from Doha, Ohad Hemo, Channel 12 News's correspondent in Qatar, tells Israel National News that the Israeli media is exaggerating the confrontations between young Arabs and Israeli journalists who are covering the World Cup.
"There are exaggerations and things are being blown out of proportion, partially by members of the Israeli media. As far as how I feel, I feel totally safe, there is no physical danger. There were a few incidents here and there that got worse over time because of TikTok. There is a wave of videos of Arab fans trying to push us out. It's not pleasant, but it's also not terrible. Yes, we are not really wanted here, but that's really just the media since the fans are really wanted here," Hemo says.
According to him, "They recognize us and they know we're from Israel since videos from social media reach everyone. They are usually planned. I saw a bunch of guys planning, coming over with their cellphones, supposedly in good humor, and saying that they are from Palestine. Once those videos went viral and got 4-5 million views, a young Arab becomes famous within 20 or 30 seconds by stating accusations in front of a journalist who supposedly represents Israel. I have no problem speaking Hebrew and I will continue as long as I'm here."
Despite the mostly positive feelings, there was one moment that worried Hemo: "I had an unpleasant incident at the Iran game, which I attended as a spectator, without filming equipment. Iran won, the fans celebrated and I filmed it for myself, then someone, who I suspect is part of the regime who was sent to keep an eye on what's going on here, came over to me and filmed me with a camera, he yelled at me and touched me, and I feel that this wasn't just any young Arab who was shouting insults, but something scarier. We ran away, but that was an unusual incident."