Jordan – Border patrol denied an Israeli citizen entry into the country after border guards noticed that the traveler was carrying a prayer shawl and phylacteries.
They prevented him from crossing the border with his son due to his visibly Jewish identity of a beard, side locks, tefillin, and a prayer shawl.
After initially being stopped by Jordanian authorities at the border crossing near Eilat, the tourist offered to leave the traditional prayer items on the Israeli side, but to no avail.
Upon his return home, the tourist sent a letter of protest to the Jordanian ambassador in Tel Aviv, who responded that security concerns required that travelers entering the Hashemite Kingdom not do so with prayer shawls and phylacteries, they explained that his entry denial is due to a security risk.
When asked if he could visit Jordan in a month’s time, the Jordanian Consulate told him, “No problem. Just leave your tefillin, prayer shawl, and kippah (skullcap) home.” Israel’s Foreign Ministry says that they are aware of the phenomena and reject the security-risk claim.
The Foreign Ministry said that it is aware of prior incidents of this nature, adding that it rejects Jordanian claims that the traditional Jewish prayer items pose a threat to the country.
Three years ago, Jordan prevented Orthodox Jewish Israelis from entering the country for fear they would be the targets of terrorist attacks.
Jordan refused to allow a group of eight Israeli tourists from entering the country after an inspection at the border crossing revealed prayer shawls and phylacteries.
Jordan is one of two Arab countries to have signed a peace treaty with Israel.