Border control officials in Jordan forced Jewish tourists from Israel to remove their kippot and other items of religious clothing Tuesday morning, prompting a diplomatic backlash from Israel.
At approximately 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, dozens of national religious and haredi municipal officials from towns across Israel attempted to cross into Jordan from the Eilat area in southern Israel via the Rabin crossing.
While the trip had been coordinated in advance, the group was prevented from entering Jordan after border officials noticed some of the Israeli visitors were wearing kippot and tzitziot (ritual fringes worn on four-cornered garments).
The guards informed the group that the visitors would not be permitted to enter the Hashemite Kingdom unless they removed all items of clothing which would identify them as Jewish, including kippot and tzitziot. While some members of the delegation complied, others refused.
“The Jordanian soldiers told every one of us who had religious clothing not to cross the border,” said Rehovot Deputy Mayor Yaniv Markovitch, according to Channel 12. “They told us to throw the tzitzit away, and afterwards they said that if we wanted to continue the trip, we’d have to lift up our shirts so they could make sure we aren’t wearing tzitzit.”
“At first I thought they were joking,” continued Markovitch. “Then I saw a young man throw his tzitzit into the garbage because they demanded he do so.”
In response, Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, consulting with National Security Council chief Meir Ben Shabbat and foreign ministry officials, weighed a possible ban on Jordanian workers, including barring Jordanians employed in Eilat, if Jordan did not reverse its ban on Jews wearing kippot.
After Jordan was warned that Israel was considering barring Jordanian workers, border guards permitted the Israeli delegation to enter Jordan without restrictions on their clothing.
Jordanian officials said after the incident that they would review their border control directives, which Jordan has claimed are intended to safeguard Jewish visitors.
Article source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/272639