Malaysia reaffirms ban on Israeli swimmers for Paralympic qualifier

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Malaysia has imposed a blanket ban on all Israelis participating in events hosted by the Southeast Asian nation, as the government maintains its decision to ban Israeli athletes from taking part in the World Para Swimming Championships in July.

Malaysia’s cabinet decided last week that Israelis will not be allowed to enter the country for any event, Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah said on Wednesday.

“Even if we have already committed to hosting an event, they will not be allowed (into the country),” he said in a recording of a press conference heard by Reuters.

“Secondly, Malaysia will not host any event that has representation from or participation of Israel.”

On Monday,  International Paralympic Committee said it was “disappointed” that Malaysia will not allow Israelis  to enter the country to participate in the World Championship event.

Swimmers from some 70 countries are expected to compete at the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships in the eastern state of Sarawak from July 29-Aug. 4.

Malaysia, a majority-Muslim country, in Southeast Asia, does not have diplomatic relations with Israel. Entry to Malaysia on an Israeli passport is prohibited.

Thousands in Malaysia and neighboring Indonesia took to the streets last December to protest Washington’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.