Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen recently filed an official protest with Jordan against the kingdom’s treatment of religious Jewish tourists, Israel Hayom reported on Tuesday.
Cohen’s missive comes on the heels of a troubling incident some two weeks ago at the Yitzhak Rabin Crossing north of Eilat, in which 150 ultra-Orthodox Jews were essentially imprisoned for 48 hours upon entering Jordan. According to their version of events, Jordanian security officials insisted that they cut their peyot, or sidelocks. The official reason cited by the guards was that it was safer for tourists not to be visibly Jewish while traveling in Jordan.
Israel has rejected that claim and as a result, Cohen took the usual step of issuing the rebuke letter, sending it to the Jordanian Embassy in Tel Aviv. “It is not the first time religious Jews have been asked to take such discriminatory steps in Jordan,” said Cohen in a letter to the Jordanian Embassy.
Jordanian restrictions of this nature have been documented for several years now, and include a prohibition on having Jews publicly wear kippot or bring Jewish scripture, prayer shawls and phylacteries, as well as kosher food, into the country. In his letter, Cohen said that while Israel appreciates Jordan’s desire to ensure the Israelis’ security, it is inconceivable that this would result in barring them from entering Jordan or forcing them to dispose of Jewish artifacts. He called on Amman to end this policy and offered to conduct dialogue to find a solution.
“It is just beyond the pale that Israelis would be discriminated against at the border crossing and denied entry just because they are religious Jews,” said Cohen. “The peace between Israel and Jordan is important for both countries. We will engage the embassy in Israel and the Jordanian authorities so that we can find a solution for thousands of Israelis who want to visit Jordan but cannot currently do so just because they carry various items. We are taking many diplomatic steps to resolve this issue.”
Originally published by Israel Hayom.
Produced in association with Jewish News Syndicate
Edited by Judy J. Rotich and Newsdesk Manager