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Jordanian guards bar religious Jews from entering country, throw kippah into trash can

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By WorldIsraelNews.com Staff

Border guards in Jordan barred members of an Israeli delegation from entering the country Tuesday after they were found to be in possession of traditional Jewish articles of clothing, including yarmulkes and tzitziot (a tasseled, four-cornered ritual garment), Israel Hayom reported Wednesday.

The delegation, which was organized for an educational tour of Jordan, was made up of senior municipal officials from cities and regional councils across Israel.

The participating officials were slated to cross into Jordan at the Yitzhak Rabin Crossing in Eilat, adjacent to the Jordanian city of Aqaba, when guards on the Jordanian side of the border insisted on thoroughly examining the delegation members for any possible hidden Jewish religious items.

According to participants cited in the report, the Jordanian border guards ordered the delegation members to lift up their shirts, so that border officials could see if they were wearing tzitziot.

While the delegation members had agreed not to openly wear Jewish clothing items at the border, they did not anticipate the refusal of border officials to even allow them to retain such items in their luggage.

All delegation members with yarmulkes, tzitziot, or any other visibly Jewish clothing items were ordered to surrender them to border officials or be barred entry into the Hashemite kingdom.

One member of the delegation reported that a border official took his yarmulke and threw it in a garbage can.

At least two of the delegation members, the directors-general of Modi’in Illit and the Binyamin Regional Council in Samaria, refused to comply with the Jordanian border guards’ demands and returned to Eilat.

“We wanted to put the tzitziot and kippot away in our bags, but they didn’t agree,” a delegation member told Israel Hayom. “We were instructed to collect [all the Jewish items] and return them to Eilat. It’s so shameful; if we would have done something like this at the Israeli border or the entrance to the Temple Mount and said there was no problem so long as you leave behind any religious items, the whole world would have condemned us.”

This is not the first time Jewish visitors to Jordan have reported harassment by border guards.

In September 2022, tourists entering the country were told that Jewish religious items, including prayer shawls and phylacteries, were “illegal.”

“The Simon Wiesenthal Center has received numerous complaints of harassment, attempted confiscations by Jordanian officials of these basic religious items that millions of Jews don each morning during their prayers,” Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said in a joint statement.

“Security officials the world over know that these holy items pose no security threat whatsoever. Some travelers have reported they were told that it is illegal to bring these holy items into Jordan.”

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