Israeli-Jordanian border in Aqaba
Israeli-Jordanian border in Aqaba iStock

Six members of Israel's triathlon team were supposed to take part in the Asian Cup competition in Jordan this weekend, but were denied entry to the country, i24NEWS reported on Friday.

"It is what it is," claimed Jordanian authorities, despite the peace agreement between Jerusalem and Amman.

The intervention of Israeli officials, including from the Culture and Sports Ministry, was not enough to get the athletes into Jordan, causing them to miss a very important competition.

“I and the team members signed up for the competition, but as soon as the list of participants was published, we saw that we were not in,” said 21-year-old Itamar Levanon, a member of the Israeli team.

“The argument we were given for not being on the list was simply ‘you are Israelis,’” he added.

"I told them that it was obviously against international law and sportsmanship, but I couldn't manage to change the evil of the decision. It is very important for me to gain points in the race for the Olympics. The way things are going is very disappointing and very sad,” said Levanon.

Jordan explained following the incident that "the organizers of the competition feared that they would not be able to ensure the security of the Israelis in the event of an incident.”

Jordan signed a peace deal with Israel in 1994 but its parliament, which is made up mostly of Islamists, remains anti-Israel and its members have more than once called to annul the peace treaty. This decision, however, can only be made by the King.

While Jordan-Israel ties have been tense in recent years, there appeared to be a change recently. Jordanian King Abdullah met Prime Minister Yair Lapid during the UN General Assembly earlier this month.

The meeting marked the second between Lapid and the King of Jordan since Lapid took office. They previously met in July at the King’s palace in Amman.

In an interview with CNN in July of 2021, King Abdullah II said he was encouraged by meetings he had with then-Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Defense Minister Benny Gantz.

"I came out of those meetings feeling very encouraged. We’ve seen in the last couple of weeks not only a better understanding between Israel and Jordan but voices coming out from both Israel and Palestine that we need to move forward and reset that relationship," the King said.

"We must bring about the restoration of contacts between Israel and the Palestinians, even though the conditions are not optimal for the implementation of a two-state solution," he added.

(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)