Qatar strikes Israel’s goal

First-time donation for sports stadium

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By  Conrad Egbert Published  October 22, 2005

Qatar has become the first Arab country to donate money to Israel, giving US $6 million (NIS27.5 million) for the construction of a sports stadium in the occupied town of Sakhnin. A delegation from Israel met with the heads of Qatar’s Olympic committee to finalise details for the financial assistance to build the sports complex, which includes the stadium for Premier League soccer team Bnei Sakhnin, which fields both Arab and Jewish players. The total cost of the project is between $12-$13 million, of which Israel has provided $3.3 million. Qatar has also agreed to accept some Israeli Arab students on scholarship at Qatari universities and has been asked to support the Bnei Sakhnin team. A few months ago, it was revealed that a delegation of the Persian Gulf country’s Olympic committee, including engineers specialising in planning sports complexes, had visited Sakhnin to see work on the stadium and planned sports complex. The visit followed an appeal for aid from the Qatar Olympic committee, which has promoted similar projects in several Arab countries. The Qatar Olympic committee said there may be $10 million available for the sponsorship scheme but no official figures have been confirmed.

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