Jewish tourists harassed in Jordan for ‘illegal’ prayer items

The Simon Wiesenthal Center reports numerous complaints of  Jordanian authorities harassing Jewish tourists over prayer shawls and phylacteries.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Jewish tourists traveling with articles indicating their faith, such as prayer shawls and phylacteries, were harassed by Jordanian border officials and told that the items were “illegal,” according to a statement from the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

The Jewish advocacy NGO, which combats antisemitism on a global scale, said it had received multiple reports from Jewish travelers that they had been stopped and threatened by Jordanian border officials for carrying holy objects into the Hashemite Kingdom.

“The Simon Wiesenthal Center has received numerous complaints of harassment, attempted confiscations by Jordanian officials of these basic religious items that millions of Jews don each morning during their prayers,” Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said in a joint statement.

“Security officials the world over know that these holy items pose no security threat whatsoever. Some travelers have reported they were told that it is illegal to bring these holy items into Jordan.”

Addressing Jordanian King Abdullah II, the rabbis noted that his late father, King Hussein, had “a warm and ongoing friendship with the Simon Wiesenthal Center,” and noted that he had been the ”the first Arab head of state to visit our Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles” during a 1995 trip.

Read  'Festival of hate': Holocaust trivialization, anti-Israel event planned at Spanish parliament

Rabbi Hier and Rabbi Cooper called on the king to “ensure that Jordanian officials at your nation’s borders live up to…standards” of “human dignity and mutual respect.”

Jewish tourists often visit the Tomb of Aaron, the High Priest, which is located located at the top of Mount Heron, west of Petra City in southern Jordan. In 2019, Jordan temporarily closed the tomb after a video surfaced showing some 500 Israelis praying there.