Metzger to Abdullah: Allow Jewish ritual

Chief rabbi sends Jordanian king letter asking him to let Jewish tourists carry religious artifacts.

Metzger 248.88 aj (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Metzger 248.88 aj
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger appealed to Jordan's King Abdullah II in a letter sent this week to stop his country's policy of preventing Israeli tourists from crossing the border with religious items such as tefillin, talitot, prayer books, Bibles or the Talmud. "As a person for whom religion is important and dear, I cannot imagine the possibility that the state of Israel would order a Muslim tourist to refrain from wearing his or her traditional dress or to refrain from entering Israel with religious items such as the Koran," wrote Metzger, according to a press release issued by the chief rabbi's office. "Proper respect should be given to all religions," Metzger added. Last August, The Jerusalem Post reported how religious Israeli tourists were regularly prevented from entering Jordan with various religious items. These tourists were told that Jordanian security officials were concerned about terrorist attacks directed against visibly Jewish tourists. Tourists who were subjected to Jordan's restrictions said they felt discriminated against, especially after seeing Christians walk through to the other side of the border with crosses. Jordanian official responded by saying that the decision had been in effect for a long time and that Israeli authorities were aware of it. "The Jordanian security authorities are responsible for the safety of all visitors to the kingdom and it is our duty to take all measures required in this regard," the official explained. He expressed regret that the tourists had been offended by the measure. Metzger wrote in response to the claims of security concerns that it was possible to allow Israelis to enter with all their belongings and simply refrain from publicly displaying the religious items.