Israeli badminton player Misha Zilberman was cleared to enter Indonesia on Monday to participate in the World Badminton Championships in Jakarta, following reports that the Indonesian authorities were unwilling to grant him a visa.
“We are glad that this matter has been resolved and that Misha Zilberman can now compete in the World Badminton Championships in Jakarta,” World Jewish Congress (WJC) CEO Robert Singer, who had issued a statement last week calling for the Indonesian government to grant the Israeli athlete a visa, stated Monday night.
“On behalf of the World Jewish Congress, I would like to thank the Indonesian authorities who granted him the entry visa, as well as all those who worked for a resolution of this matter. We believe that it is important that politics and sport are kept separate as much as possible.”
“As a matter of course, athletes who have qualified for an international sporting event should be allowed to travel and take part in it, regardless of the country they represent,” he added.
Zilberman had been waiting in Singapore to fly to Indonesia – the world’s most populous Muslim country — for two weeks after making his initial visa application six months ago.
The athlete, who represented Israel at the London 2012 Olympics, said that he was stuck in Singapore, a short flight from Jakarta, despite attempting for months to secure permission to enter Indonesia.
The weeklong world championships begin Monday and Zilberman is set to compete on Tuesday.