PetraFlash 90

About forty insurance agents had planned a short two-night vacation in Jordan. They crossed the Israeli border in Eilat and reached the Jordanian border, where the Jordanian inspectors checked their bags.

During the inspection, the Jordanians found tefillin in the bags of seven of the Israelis and informed them that they could not enter Jordan with the tefillin. The Jordanians explained that this is a procedure designed to keep tourists safe.

In an interview with Israel Hayom reporter Shimon Yaish, the travelers said: "As soon as they checked the bags, they started taking our tefillin out of the bags and at the same time asked for our passports. They took us into a room and there they explained to us that religious symbols are not allowed, they would excuse it as 'maintaining our security' even though we told them that we only put on the tefillin in our room, there are no religious symbols that we walk around with. We were there for an hour and a half and not given answers, we have returned to Israel."

One of them said: "I want to see what would happen if it were the other way around and they told Muslims or Christians that religious symbols could not be brought into Israel/ It would become a big mess. Why in Jordan do people have problems with that? We were recently in Dubai and they were very okay with us, and we arrived with tefillin. We were received with love and there was no problem, we were very respected. Why in Jordan do they not know how to treat us with respect?"

''We are now returning to Eilat, trying to arrange a special permit for them to allow one or two tefillin that we will all put together. If they allow one or two, then why not allow everyone's? We didn't do this to cause a scene, we came to enjoy a short vacation, the tefillin is not a prominent symbol/ All we do is stay in the room [when donning them], leave them in a closed room and that's it," the Israelis add.

The Foreign Ministry's website reads: "The Jordanian authorities state that for security reasons they ask religious Israelis not to display the religious symbols: tallit, kippah, etc. It has often happened that items such as tallit and tefillin were not allowed in at the border crossing, and the traveler was asked to return to Israel or deposit his religious belongings at the border crossing, until the end of his visit to Jordan."