Israeli gaming team competes in Saudi Arabia
July 09, 2023
A team of young Israelis have flown to Saudi Arabia to take part in an international football gaming competition.
They have reached the finals of the FIFAe World Cup - a video game contest - which is being staged in the Saudi capital Riyadh for the first time.
Israel and Saudi Arabia do not enjoy diplomatic relations but the once closed doors of the Arab kingdom have been quietly opening to Israelis on business trips in recent years. The Abraham Accords signed between Israel and the UAE in 2020 have prompted hopes of the establishment of similar ties with Saudi Arabia.
According to the Jerusalem Post, the three-strong team travelled with their manager and coach via the UAE and entered on their Israeli passports.
The Hatikvah will be played and the Israeli flag displayed at the opening ceremony on Sunday week, the newspaper said.
The team’s manager, Zvika Kosman, told Israel’s Kan News that he had worked with FIFA to secure entry for his players.
The FIFAe World Cup was launched 19 years ago, then known as the FIFA Interactive World Cup.
More than two million competitors participate in the initial qualifying stages of the video game series, making it the largest esports tournament in the world.