Israel’s national épée fencing team will not participate in the Grand Prix du Qatar in late January, after the Shin Bet security service issued a directive warning of a "heightened threat level in the Gulf region."
"Due to the Shin Bet's assessment of the situation following recent events in our region, the threat level in the Gulf has been raised," a statement sent by the Culture and Sports Ministry to the Israel Fencing Association said. "In light of this, the Shin Bet has forbidden delegations from the region out of security concerns."
European champion Yuval Freilich may nevertheless go to Qatar to compete in the men’s individual tournament, as the Shin Bet order applies only to teams. The fencing association is looking into the possibility of sending Freilich to compete, as the expected points he would gain in Qatar could help him meet the Olympic criteria.