Malaysia is refusing to allow Israel’s Paralympics swimming team to enter the country to compete in the World Para Swimming Championships in July.
The event will be held in the city of Kuching and will be the determining factor for who will participate in the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo. More than 600 swimmers from 70 nations will compete.
Despite two months of efforts, Israel’s team still does not have permission to enter Malaysia.
“For some time now, we have been trying to guarantee our participation in the world championships,” Israeli Olympic chairman Nisim Sasportas told Ynet.
“In principle, everyone says that it will work out, but we have still not received an invitation or visas. We are continuing to apply pressure. We have letters of support from the International Paralympics Committee, the European Paralympics Committee and the Olympic Athletes Committee, and hope that they allow the athletes and their security entourage to participate.”
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Bin Mohammad has not been shy with his anti-Semitism. He has been highly critical of Israel, saying “Jerusalem has always been Palestinian territory and it must remain in its current status.”
Mohammad also called Jews “hook-nosed” last October and blamed the Jewish state for being the source of chaos in the Middle East.
Malaysia is increasingly also becoming hostile to Christians with reports of widespread persecution surfacing in since Mohammad took office.