JAKARTA, May 24 (Reuters) - 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 organised 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," foreign ministry spokesman Desra Percaya said.
An official from the Indonesian Tennis Association said the team is set to go to Israel although the association has not endorsed the decision formally.
"As a member of the International Tennis Federation, Indonesia is required to follow regulations and events organised by the federation therefore Indonesia must go to Israel and compete," Ferry August Raturandang, Deputy Secretary General of the Indonesian Tennis Association, told Reuters.
The Indonesian federation had previously asked to change the venue but Israeli officials said they would not agree to moving it outside Israel and sport and politics should not be mixed.
Indonesia is a staunch supporter of Palestinian sovereignty and a critic of Israel. The issue is important to the international agenda of many local Muslim and secular politicians in Indonesia, the world's third largest democracy.