The national Israeli women's team ended up sixth in the last European Championships (Dublin, Ireland, 12-26 June 2012), thus qualifying to take part in the forthcoming World Championships (Bali, Indonesia, 14-18 September 2013). However, the Israeli Bridge Federation (IBF) withdrew the team: Sweden, which ended up seventh in Dublin, will play in its place.
Eitan Levy, President of the IBF, explained his decision in a short essay posted on Facebook. Mr Levy authorised us to publish it here. Here is a summary of the main facts about the withdrawal of the Israel Ladies team. For months the Israel Bridge Federation repeatedly requested instructions from the Indonesians on obtaining visas for the Israeli team. Most of the requests were simply ignored and when a reply was received it was of the type “we are dealing with the matter”.
We requested the help of the WBF, who contacted the Indonesian authorities but this also resulted in a standard reply. We also repeatedly asked for contact details in order to discuss security issues. This request was repeatedly and completely ignored. Finally, about a month ago, we were told that we could obtain visas provided that we paid for the flight and expenses of two representatives of the Indonesian Bridge Federation to fly from Indonesia to Bangkok or Singapore where they would meet the Israelis and obtain visas for them. We doubt that the extra imposition and expense were required of any other participant.
Again the question of security was ignored. After further correspondence we were told that the person in charge of security was still unavailable! Security is an important issue for us, and probably also for other participants. How is it possible that for months the person dealing with security is unavailable? We replied and made it clear that security was an essential element of our participation, but received no reply. At no stage did we ask for armed security – we simply had no one to talk to or to talk to us, so security could not even be discussed at a basic level.
We then received a letter from the WBF asking us for a decision on whether the Israel team would participate as the deadline for registration was approaching. As the person responsible for security was still not available, and due to the lack of cooperation from the Indonesian official and bridge authorities we regret that we were left with no choice but to withdraw our team. We have expressed our displeasure to the WBF, especially on the choice of venue.
And finally – good luck to the Swedish team. We hope you do well. We’ll be cheering for you!
Eitan Levy (President, IBF)
Contributed by Laura Camponeschi for NewInBridge