Jordan Reportedly Confirms Ban on Bringing Jewish Religious Clothing Into Kingdom

Kingdom's Foreign Ministry apologizes after Israeli family told to leave 'Jewish things' behind at border, but says ban is due to security reasons, Channel 2 reports.

Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
FILE PHOTO: Ultra-Orthodox Jews wait at Ben Gurion Airport. January, 2015.
FILE PHOTO: Ultra-Orthodox Jews wait at Ben Gurion Airport. January, 2015.Credit: Alex Levac

The Jordanian Foreign Ministry apologized for an incident in which an Israeli family was told by Jordanian border official to leave behind their yarmulkes, Channel 2 reported on Wednesday, but confirmed that it wasn't permitted to enter the kingdom with a tallit or tefillin. 

The apology came after intensive talks between the Israeli Foreign Ministry and Jordan, which started in December after the incident was originally made public by the family in a Facebook post, the report said.

Though the Jordanian Foreign Ministry apologized, it insisted that the ban is meant to protect tourists' safety. According to Channel 2, talks are ongoing on the subject. 

The Yitzhak Rabin/Araba border crossing between Israel and Jordan
A border crossing between Israel and Jordan.Credit: NYC2TLV

The issue first came to light in December, when a woman described how her family decided to cancel their vacation to Jordan after receiving a discriminatory welcome at the border, where the father and two boys were told to leave behind their yarmulkes and other "Jewish stuff.

"We prepared thoroughly ahead of time with a perfect hotel and a Jordanian chauffeur," wrote Tamar Gvirtz-Hayardeni on Facebook. "But no one prepared us for the farce that awaited us at the border: The Jordanians took the crocheted yarmulkes off the heads of my two boys and their father and insisted they be returned to Israel!"

Gvirtz-Hayardeni continued in consternation, "We promised to hide them in our bags for the entire trip (as we intended to do anyway)... but the border officials said that 'Jewish stuff' can't be brought into Jordan and that, of course, this was only out of concern for our safety."

According to Gvirtz-Hayardeni, the family was finally convinced that the Jordanian officials harbored an anti-Jewish bias when "an Israeli man was surprisingly brought into the room, accused of brazenly bringing tefillin to Jordan. Then we understood that the Jordanians may want Israelis, but they don't want Jews."

The family subsequently decided to cancel their trip and Gvirtz-Yardeni called on other Israeli travelers to avoid trips to Jordan in light of her experience at the border.