Indonesia's Fed Cup team has been given the government go-ahead to play in Israel, despite an absence of diplomatic ties between the two countries.
Leading women tennis players from Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, will now clash with their Israeli counterparts in a World Group II playoff over July 15-16.
"The match is organized by the International Tennis Federation. It has nothing to do with political issues and bilateral relations between Indonesia and Israel, therefore the team can go to Israel," Indonesian Foreign Ministry spokesman Desra Percaya said.
An official from the Indonesian Tennis Association said the team was set to go to Israel although the association had not endorsed the decision formally.
"As a member of the International Tennis Federation, Indonesia is required to follow regulations and events organized by the federation, therefore Indonesia must go to Israel and compete," Ferry August Raturandang, deputy secretary-general of the Indonesian Tennis Association commented.
The Indonesian federation had previously asked to change the venue, but Israeli officials said they would not agree to moving it outside Israel and that sport and politics should not be mixed.
A spokesman for the Israel Tennis Association said yesterday that no word had been received from the Indonesian's, but that preparations for the tie were going ahead as scheduled.
Failure to show up for the match would cost Indonesia a 5-0 technical defeat and send Israel through to World Group II.
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