Israel and Malaysia do not have diplomatic relations, and Israelis are banned from entering the country
The Men’s World Team Squash Championship in Malaysia was canceled on Monday amid pushback against the entry ban on Israelis as well as concerns over the new Covid variant.
In a statement, the World Squash Federation (WSF) said that it "believes in an open and inclusive Men’s World Team Squash Championships."
Concerns over the omicron Covid variant also prompted the cancellation, The Jerusalem Post (The Post) reported.
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The Israel Squash Association (ISA) voiced its gratitude for the WSF decision:
"As lovers of sports in general and squash in particular, we know how difficult it is to cancel a tournament," ISA chairman Aviv Bushinsky said.
"When all parties realized Malaysians are banning Israelis from playing, I was grateful to read the President's letter affirming a commitment to our participation,” he added, The Post reported.
Bushinsky proposed that Israel host WSF events, including teams from countries that do not have diplomatic ties with the Jewish state.
"There is nothing more frustrating for a professional athlete than to be told that he, she cannot compete after years of training and preparation, yet I believe that this incident will prevent any similar discrimination in the future," he said.
After Israelis were banned from competing in next week’s event in Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur, the ISA sued the WSF as well as the Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia.
“We wish to ensure that no squash player should be excluded from tournaments due to their race, nationality, sexual orientation, and politics,” Bushinsky said, The Post reported.
Israel and Malaysia currently do not have formal diplomatic relations, and Israelis are not able to visit the Southeast Asian country as Malaysian passports bear the inscription “This passport is valid for all countries except Israel.”