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Tunisia, Under Pressure, Lets 7-Year-Old Israeli In For Chess Championships

(JTA) — Following pressure, the Tunisian Chess Federation has agreed to allow a 7-year-old Israeli girl to participate in an international tournament in Tunisia.

Tunisian authorities backtracked on their refusal to grant a visa to Liel Levitan for the World School Individual Championships next year in Sousse, France’s National Bureau for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism, or BNVCA, said Friday in a statement.

The FIDE World Chess Federation pressured its Tunisian affiliate and the country’s authorities to allow her to compete, according to the report.

Many Arab countries place limitations on Israelis’ representation in sports and cultural events, prompting protests by Israel and professional associations that view it as political interference contrary to international standards on sportsmanship.

The Tunisian Chess Federation issued a circular Tuesday stating that “players from all countries are welcome, without exception.”

FIDE threatened to revoke Tunisia’s privileges to host the match, the report said.

The issue of Israel’s participation drew international attention last month after the pro-Israel advocacy organization StandWithUs launched an online campaign asking to ensure participation for Levitan, who won the Girls U7 category in the European School Individual Chess Championship in July, The Jerusalem Post reported.

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