World Cup fans in Egypt tuning in on Israeli channel

The Brazil and Croatia match at the FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Many Egyptian soccer fans are watching the matches on an Israeli channel in order to avoid subscription fees. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

If you want to watch the World Cup in Egypt, do you pay a $300 subscription fee to watch the matches on a Qatar-owned sports channel, or do you turn on an Israeli channel that you can watch for free?

For many Egyptians, the hefty subscription fee is too steep of a price to pay, so they access Israel’s state-run Israel Broadcasting Authority (IBA) with a cable receiver. Some Egyptian users are even commenting on the IBA's Facebook page asking for match commentary in Arabic (rather than in Hebrew).

“I’ve watched all the World Cup games on that Israeli channel, may God forgive me,” said Ahmed Saad, a 35-year-old baker, reports 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.”

Another factor in this decision for some Egyptians is the fact that Qatar, whose channels offers the games for the fee, supports Mohamed Morsi, the Islamist Egyptian president who was ousted in July 2013.

Posted on July 1, 2014 .