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,” said World Jewish Congress CEO Robert Singer, who issued a statement last week calling for the Indonesian government to grant the Israeli athlete a visa.
“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,” said Singer.
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 week-long world championships began Monday. Zilberman blamed the immigration saga for his early departure from the tournament on Tuesday after being defeated by Taiwan's Hsu Jen-hao 21-14, 21-14 in his opening round match.