Indonesia denied visa to an Israeli badminton player anticipated to compete in next week’s World Championships in the country. Misha Zilberman 26 , who played for Israel at the London 2012 Olympics, spent the past couple of weeks practicing in Singapore while waiting for his visa request to be approved.
However, despite filing his initial application six months ago, Zilberman was turned down by Indonesian officials time and again.”After six months of exchanging letters and after forwarding all the documents requested, and after we arrived in Singapore, the reply received from Indonesia has been negative and frustrating. The seven-day tournament, which is one of the top events, will begin next Monday – 10 of August. Meanwhile, Yuni Kartika, a spokeswoman for the Indonesian Badminton Association, has also confirmed that Zilberman is yet to be granted a visa.
Immigration officials in Indonesia are not available to comment on the report.
Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country, and Israel do not have formal diplomatic ties. Israelis wishing to visit the Southeast Asian country must obtain a special visa in Bangkok or Singapore after securing a sponsorship letter from Indonesian officials.
The CEO of the World Jewish Congress Robert Singer criticized Indonesian authorities for “unfairly mixing politics and sports” He stated: “This decision to bar an Israeli player from an international sporting competition can’t stand, and I urge Indonesia to allow Misha Zilberman to compete in these championships.”
Singer also attacked the organiser of the games, the Badminton World Federation (BWF), for its reactiveness on the issue and for not providing assistance to Zilberman.