Tuesday, December 03, 2019

03-Dec-19: Tuesday morning on Israel's Jordan border

Israeli visitors undergo inspection by Jordanian border officials
this morning. Image Source: David Ben-Zion, Israel Hayom
Another instance today of the ugly petty bigotry that characterizes a great deal of the daily contact Israelis have with Jordan: 
Hamodia | Jordan to Israeli Deputy Mayors: No Kippot, Tzitzis Allowed | Dov Benovadia | Tuesday, December 3, 2019
A large group of Israeli deputy mayors, mostly from religious and chareidi communities, were prevented from entering Jordan Tuesday morning – because some were wearing tzitzis. Entry would not be allowed until the tzitzis were removed, the members of the group were told. The Foreign Ministry said it was “examining” the incident.
The incident occurred at about 7:30 a.m., Yisrael Hayom reported, when the group gathered at the crossing point into Jordan at the border between Israel and Jordan east of Eilat. On the Jordanian side of the Gulf of Eilat is the city of Aqaba, with the Israeli group intending to visit Petra. Members of the delegation had been told in advance to wear hats or caps to hide their kippot – for security purposes, of course – but were shocked to discover that they were refused entry because some were wearing tzitzis.
The presence of the tzitzis set off the Jordanian security guards, witnesses told the newspaper. The guards forced all members of the group to go through a security check three times, and also forced all of them to remove their clothing. “They did this to all of us, even those who could not be suspected of wearing tzitzis – there were deputy mayors from Abu Ghosh and other Arab towns here,” one member of the delegation said. “The feeling was one of abuse and an effort to make us suffer. It appeared to be a strongly anti-Semitic act. All the other groups – Ukranians, Koreans, and more – went in without even one security check.
“There is supposed to be a peace agreement with Jordan, but I know of no other country where Jews are treated like this for their religious practices,” the delegation member told the newspaper. “The demand that we take off tzitzis in order to enter Jordan is nothing less than anti-Semitic, and another sign of how real the ‘peace’ we have with them is. I can only imagine how the Israeli Foreign Ministry would fall all over itself apologizing if something was done that was perceived to be anti-Christian or anti-Muslim,” he added.
And this tweet:
Our translation:
An incident at the crossing with Jordan: Tens of religious and Haredi deputy mayors were asked to remove their tzitziyot [ritual fringes prescribed by halacha - Jewish religious law] and their kippot in order to enter Jordan. They refused heatedly and the Jordanians prohibited their entry. Itzik Ohana.
And this from Israel Hayom:
For security reasons, they had agreed to replace their skullcaps with hats for the duration of the visit, but when they arrived at the Jordanian side of the border, they were refused entry over the fact that some of them were wearing a tzitzit – the specially knotted ritual fringes – under their clothes...
"During the first security check, we were told [by Jordanian border security] to take off our kippot and put hats on instead," Givatayim Deputy Mayor Moshe Goldstein told Israel Hayom. "When the security screening was over, they stop us again because they realized some in the group were wearing a tzitzit. They even took aside the women and made then undress." "After the second inspection, they still weren't pleased and asked the entire group to wait for a third security screening. At this point, our guide said that they [border security] contacted Amman for approval and that we had to sign something saying we were only going to visit Petra and nothing else.
"At that point, we just decided to go back to Eilat. The atmosphere was harsh and alienating and our religious friends were greatly offended," he said.
The fact that the group was denied entry and the multiple security screenings are especially odd given that the tzitzit is not a visible religious garment. According to Goldstein, the group included Arab deputy mayors as well. "The whole thing just felt like harassment. It felt like anti-Semitism."
David Ben-Zion, deputy head of the Samaria Regional Council, said, "The whole experience was humiliating – it felt like a national humiliation. Even the secular members of the group were furious about it," he said.

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