JERUSALEM, April 4 -- The manager of Israel's cricket team says (Friday) he feels welcome playing in an international tournament in Malaysia, despite repeated street demonstrations against Israel's eligibility to play in the predominantly Muslim country. 'They (the Malaysian government) have accepted us in an unprecedented way,' Stanley Pearlman told Israel Radio.
'I feel great. ' Pearlman's comments came hours after riot police dispersed some 500 demonstrators who tried to disrupt Israel's scheduled match against Argentina. Police fired tear gas and water cannon at the crowd, which chanted 'death to the Jews,' Israel Radio reported. The Israeli cricket team is playing in the 22-nation International Cricket Council Trophy tournament in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur. It is the first official visit of an Israeli sports delegation to Malaysia, which does not have diplomatic ties with the Jewish state. Pearlman said demonstrators also disrupted a cricket match between Canada and the Netherlands last Sunday where they mistakenly thought Israel was playing. The Israeli team had been moved for safety reasons. Israel, which was playing Argentina for last-place contention, was set to return home Sunday. Pearlman said he still views his squad's performance in a winning light. 'If we didn't succeed on the field, we have at least succeeded diplomatically and politically,' he said. ---
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