A sign marking the Allenby Bridge crossing.
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Israeli travelers seeking to visit the revered Tomb of Aaron site in Jordan were reportedly turned away from the Hashemite Kingdom last weekend for bearing symbols of the Jewish religion.
Jordanian border crossing officials allegedly forbade a Jewish family from entering the country from Israel while donning any Jewish religious attire, ordering them to remove all religious indicators such as kippot (Yarmulke), tallitot (prayer shawls), religious books and tefillin, Israel's Channel 2 reported Monday.
The incident almost devolved into a diplomatic incident as Jordan's Ambassador to Israel, Walid Obeidat, was reportedly summoned for a clarification of the incident.
While Israel and Jordan maintain formal diplomatic relations, the two neighbors have faced tensions over recent Temple Mount controversies
Last weekend's episode was not the first such reported incident, and came less than a year after Jordan's reported denial of entry to another Jewish family at the border crossing near Eilat for wearing kippot. Channel 2 reported that at the time, Jordanian authorities urged the family members to remove the Jewish skullcaps, warning that they could not enter the country as such religious items could jeopardize their security.
Within an hour of that incident, Jordanian border officials located kippot packed by another young Jewish man during X-ray scans while attempting to pass through the Israel-Jordan border crossing. The Jordanians informed the young man that he too would not be permitted entrance.
While Jordan charged that last year's occurrence represented an isolated incident, the latest development has apparently raised doubts over Petra's policies.
Following last weekend's incident, an Israeli Foreign Ministry official said that last year's incident was labeled by Jordan as a decision taken erroneously in the heat of the moment which warranted clarification. However, the source told Channel 2 that it now seems that such decisions are not made at the individual discretion of crossing authority guards, but as part of a systematic policy of discrimination.