By TZVI JOFFRE 4.12.2019
A group of Israeli deputy mayors who traveled to Jordan to visit Petra were forced to remove their tzitzit (ritual fringes), kippas and any other religious articles without any forewarning, according to Channel 13 news.Deputy Mayor of Rehovot Yaniv Markowitz described the incident in a Facebook post, saying that the group of deputy mayors were in Eilat for a forum of deputy mayors and had a trip to Petra arranged for them.Read More Related Articles
Recommended byAfter going through the border crossing into Jordan, the officials were told to return to checkpoint for additional checks. They were then forced to remove their tzitzit and kippas and were told that it’s forbidden to wear any religious symbol. “They threw the tzitzit in the garbage,” wrote Markowitz. “They checked each one of us to make sure that there weren’t tzitzit under our shirts.”Deputy Mayors Ben Zion Sharabi and Zohar Blum also “gave up and returned to Israel,” wrote Markowitz.Markowitz wondered, “What would happen if it was the other way around?”In light of the incident, Interior Minister Arye Deri spoke with the foreign ministry officials and National Security Council head Meir Ben Shabbat and the Israeli envoy was eventually allowed in without restrictions. Deri is now considering preventing Jordanian activists from entering Israel, said foreign ministry officials and Ben Shabbat to their Jordanian counterparts. The Jordanian officials claimed that the confiscations of religious items was done to protect the Israelis.”In light of the demand of the Minister Deri, the Jordanians announced that they would recheck the directive to prevent the entry of Israelis with kippas and other Jewish symbols. In order to enforce the decision, a team will be formed that will include representatives of the interior minister, foreign ministry and relevant security officials,” stated the Ministry of Interior.
TOP ARTICLES1/5READ MOREISRAEL’S WAR WITH IRAN WILL CAUSE NEVER-BEFORE-SEEN IMAGESEarlier on Tuesday, former Jordanian minister of information Samih al-Mayata left an interview on the Saudi Al-Arabiya TV channel after Professor Uzi Rabi of Tel Aviv University was invited to the broadcast. “Even before the broadcast I said it and I’ll say it now: I will not take part in a discussion with an Israeli person,” said al-Mayata before leaving the broadcast.Tensions have been high between Israel and Jordan in recent months, especially surrounding issues such as the Temple Mount, Jordanian citizens arrested in Israel, the arrest of an Israeli citizen in Jordan, and the return of agricultural land to Jordan in Naharayim and Tzofar.Jordanian King Abdullah II said two weeks ago that relations between Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom are at an “all-time low.” On Monday, President President Reuven Rivlin notified Foreign Minister Israel Katz that Aaron’s Tomb, located in Jordan, will be reopened to Israeli visitors after being closed in August when Israeli tourists were filmed performing “Jewish rituals” at the site, according to Maariv.The decision to reopen the site was made as part of talks that began in London last week during a meeting with Prince Ghazi bin Mohammed, personal envoy and chief adviser to King Abdullah II for Religious and Cultural Affairs. Talks continued in Jordan after the meeting, and the decision was made to reopen the site where the High Priest Aaron is believed to be buried.Rivlin asked Katz to instruct the relevant diplomats to continue to coordinate the understandings that will allow Israeli groups to visit the site if arranged earlier and with a security escort and guide at the site.Purported photos of Jewish tourists at the tomb which circulated through Jordanian media showed them praying with a Torah scroll.In an interview with Ynet, tour guide Roni Ayalon, who was with the group of tourists who were accused of illegally entering the site, described being subjected to humiliating treatment by Jordanian authorities, including the confiscation of all religious items and symbols.“If there was this kind of humiliation of an Arab on our side who wanted to enter Jerusalem and they would dare to tell him to take off his shirt or confiscate his Koran, there would be a world war,” Ayalon said. “All the Arabs would jump up. But they can do whatever they want to us.”