Agnes Valentina Christa, Jakarta – A public survey conducted after Indonesia lost the right to host the U-20 FIFA World Cup due to opposition to Israel's participation by some political elements found that actually, most people here had a permissive attitude to the issue.
The survey by the Indonesia Political Indicator (IPI) found that 63.4 percent of respondents had no problem with the Israeli team playing on Indonesian soil.
"Of community members who are aware of the issue, 63.4 percent raised no issue about the Israeli team's arrival and 35.6 opposed the participation by the Israeli national football team," IPI researcher head Burhanuddin Muhtadi said on Wednesday.
Those who would welcome Israel's participation in the tournament argued that politics and sports simply don't mix.
"They also voiced other arguments that [the tournament] is very important to help advance the national football, that it should have been a crucial moment for Indonesia to become the host, that they didn't want any cancellation of the Indonesian edition of the tournament, that [Israel's participation] wouldn't change Indonesia's [foreign policy] toward Israel, and that they feared of further sanctions from FIFA," he added.
The opposing camp argued that Israel shouldn't be allowed to come due to its illegal occupation of Palestinian territories, that Indonesia has no diplomatic ties with Israel, and that they regarded the protest as a form of support for the Palestinian people, he said.
FIFA eventually awarded Argentina the right to host the tournament in May.