The Real Reason Jordan Bars Entry of Religious Jews
The Foreign Ministry is investigating several incidents in which Jordanian authorities have denied entry to the country for observant Jews, with the latest incident coming Wednesday evening, when Jews who were wearing kippot and other religious garb were told they could not enter the country.
In the wake of the incident, the Jordanian ambassador to Israel was asked to provide explanations at the Foreign Ministry Thursday.
The family attempted to enter Jordan through the border crossing from Eilat to Aqaba, with the intention of spending a few hours on the Jordanian side of the border in the southern vacation destination. But at the border they were told that if they wanted to enter Jordan they needed to remove their Jewish religious garb.
Related coverageSeptember 19, 2016 6:32 am
The family agreed not to wear kippot or other religious symbols while they were in Jordan, but the soldiers demanded that they surrender those items before crossing the border.
The incident echoed others in the recent past in which Jordan has refused entry to religious Jews who were carrying tefillin (phylacteries) with them. They were told that they had to leave them at the border if they wanted to enter the country. In the past Jordan has said that the reason was that they were afraid of unrest.
The official reason that Jordan gives is that this is for the safety of the Jews themselves, because Jordanian security services cannot guarantee that angry Arabs would not attack any identifiable Jews. But that doesn’t explain the confiscation of tefillin or talitot, which would not be worn in public but rather while praying in hotel rooms.
The real reason for the effective ban on religious Jews traveling to Jordan is revealed in this article from Al Khaleej.
Jordanians accuse Jews of trying to take over parts of Jordan because sections of that country were part of ancient Israel, and apparently they believe that only religious Jews are trying to implement this scheme.
Residents of Petra and other sites claim that Jews visit the area to furtively bury forged items — manuscripts, coins and the like — that would prove Jewish history there.
Locals are also suspicious of Jewish tourists who stay for days camping in the mountains.
Dr. Salah al-Khalid, an “Islamic thinker,” said in an interview that “the Jews have great ambitions on Jordanian territory, based on their alleged religious texts, and they can not forget or abandon them; they are part of their religion and faith.”
Khalidi said that a religious Zionist youth group has a song they sing about their ambitions on both sides of the Jordan river.
He added that Jews visit Mount Nebo, considered the place of the tomb of Moses, and say, “This is an Israeli land inside Jordan.”
So it is a little more than antisemitism. They are afraid of Jews claiming the land in the name of religion.