Iranian Football Fans Celebrate Victory With Israeli Journalist on Live TV
Crowds of ecstatic Iranian football fans wildly celebrated their shock 2-0 World Cup victory over Wales with an Israeli journalist on Friday.
The scenes of open adulation, in which Iranians hoisted the journalist with Kan Broadcasting Network, Uri Levy, on their shoulders, are a rarity between citizens of the two countries.
Israelis at the World Cup in Qatar have so far been received coolly. In recent days videos on social media have shown Arab soccer fans from countries such as Lebanon, Tunisia and Algeria shunning Israeli journalists in Qatar trying to interview them. Another Kan journalist Dor Hoffman said earlier this week he had been kicked out of a taxi cab by a driver who accused him of “killing his brothers.”
The ecstatic scenes on Friday, however, were anything but.
“It’s the Middle East, it’s impossible to describe what’s going on — you can hate it or love it, but there’s just nothing like what’s happening right now, it’s indescribable,” Levy said.
Dozens of cheering fans then approached Levy, putting up the peace sign and putting hats and sunglasses with the Iranian flag on his head. A clip of the broadcast, posted by Kan on Twitter, quickly racked up thousands of views and likes.
“It would be good to keep asking you questions and they’re putting all these hats and things on you,” the Israeli newscaster says. “But we have to continue our broadcast.”
At least 10,000 Israelis are expected at the month-long matches, most of them coming through third countries.
Earlier in the week Iran‘s World Cup soccer team declined to sing their national anthem before their opening match against England after many fans back home accused the squad of siding with a violent state crackdown on persistent popular unrest. On Friday, however, the team sung the anthem.