Israelis Refused Entry Into Jordan With ‘Jewish Paraphernalia’ in Luggage
An Israeli family on a Hannukah vacation to Jordan was shocked to be turned away at the border, due to the skull caps (kippot) on the heads of the father and two sons, the Israeli site nrg reported on Thursday.
Tamar Gewirtz Hayardeni, the mother of the family, told nrg about the ordeal, after ranting about it on Facebook.
Tamar, a licensed tour guide who has been to Jordan in the past, described the family’s encounter with Jordanian border authorities, who were adamant that the male members of the family not enter the country with their kippot, claiming it was for their own protection.
Gewirtz Hayardeni said she explained to the border guard that the family had not intended to walk around with the kippot on their heads in any case — as a precaution. They insisted they would wear regular hats, while keeping their kippot in their luggage.
This was not sufficient for the border guard, however, according to Gewirtz Hayardeni, who said that at that point, she didn’t know what to do other than consult with her family. As they were weighing their options, their dilemma was solved, she recounted, when another Israeli was led into the room, “charged with attempting to bring tefillin into Jordan” – phylacteries that were discovered by security x-ray.
“That’s when we understood that the Jordanians might want Israelis to come, but not Jews,” she wrote on Facebook. “So we turned around and went back to Israel.”
On the Israeli side of the border, Gewirtz Hayardeni asked the guards and other people working there whether her experience was common. She was told that the Jordanians have begun forbidding all Jewish paraphernalia from entering the country.
Gewirtz Hayardeni expressed disgust and questioned what would happen if Jordanian tourists to Israel were forbidden to enter with headscarves or other Muslim “paraphernalia.”
According to an Israeli Channel 2 report on Thursday evening, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely intends to investigate the phenomenon with the Jordanian authorities.
Israel and Jordan signed a peace treaty in 1994, which expanded water, tourism and trade cooperation, as well as a commitment to prevent third parties from using either country’s territory as a staging ground for military strikes.