Exposé: Antisemitism at the Jordanian border

An Orthodox Israeli tourist group on a visit to Petra is subjected to shocking antisemitic and anti-Israeli officialdom. A letter to the Hashemie king.

Arutz Sheva Staff, | updated: 10:18

Arutz Sheva
Arutz Sheva
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Arutz Sheva was sent this letter by an editor's friend who asked to remain anonymous.

Dear King Abdullah II of Jordan,

I am an Israeli citizen who went with a group on April 8 to visit Petra, the famous "Rose City, an archaeological site in Jordan's southwestern desert. 

While the visit to Petra was incredible and much enjoyed, we had an incident at the Aqaba border crossing in which we were left feeling humiliated and threatened, and quite frankly were on the verge of turning around and canceling our visit.

Our group was composed of Orthodox Jews, with the vast majority being Israeli (but also included a few US citizens as well). Due to sensitivities that we felt we should respect, we all wore hats and made sure our tzitzit, a ritual garment which observant men wear, were worn under our shirts and not visible.

Your Majesty, when Jordanian citizens enter Israel, no one is asked to remove a hijab or have a prayer mat or beads confiscated.
The group went through the normal security and passport control. When one of the last men went for the Iris scan, he removed his hat and was found to be wearing a kipa, our ritual head covering, under it. This set off a reaction among the border police.

There was one person among the officials who was wearing fatigues and had a marking on his arm which said "Customs Jordan" and he started taking over. He was extremely rude and threatening to the entire group. He forced the entire group to go back and redo the security check, even going so far as to separate the men from the women.

He then had each of our bags checked thoroughly, and at least in my case objects (such as vital medication) were carelessly left out when being replaced. He then made each of us lift our shirts, and he saw that we were wearing tzitzit.

He made us take them off, which is a very serious matter to us aside from its blatant anti-Semitism. I felt threatened by this man, and was afraid of being beaten or thrown into jail at this point. Because of those fears, we did not protest, and unfortunately, we all (except for one man) had to remove our tzitzit, which were thrown on a table. We recovered them later at night as one of our group had to return to Israel.

To exacerbate matters, this entire procedure took almost 2 hours, which meant that after finally being released, we had to cut short our visit to Petra.

Your Majesty, when Jordanian citizens enter Israel, no one is asked to remove a hijab or have a prayer mat or beads confiscated. This blatant anti-Semitic act was unforgivable. We were humiliated, threatened and as a result lost part of our day in Petra.