Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim-majority nation, does not maintain diplomatic ties with Israel.
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Bennett will take part in a World Trade Organization ministerial conference in Jakarta alongside representatives from more than 150 countries. When Indonesia agreed to host the conference, it also agreed to allow Israel to participate and pledged not to create any difficulties for the Israeli delegation. Minister Bennett and his entourage all received visas without any problems.
Israel attaches great importance to the visit and is hoping it will help it gain access to new markets in Asia, particularly in countries that do not maintain diplomatic relations with Israel, namely Indonesia and Malaysia.
Indonesia currently refuses to engage diplomatically with Israel despite the fact that the two nations formerly maintained relations.
In 2004, in the wake of the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami, Israel sent medical and humanitarian aid to Indonesia. Then Foreign Ministry director Ron Prosor traveled to the country along with Israeli volunteers but was refused a meeting with his local counterpart in Jakarta and was not even allowed off the plane.
Nevertheless, the Foreign Ministry continues to engage in hasbara activities in Indonesia and even operates an Indonesia-language website from Israel's embassy in Singapore.
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