Jordan orders closing of Aaron’s Tomb, visiting Israelis were ‘stripped down’

Jordanian Minister Abdul Nasser Musa Abu al-Basal ordered the closure of Aaron’s Tomb after a video surfaced showing some 500 Israelis praying there.

By World Israel News Staff

The Jordanian Waqf, the Islamic trust in charge of Muslim holy sites in Jordan as well as the Temple Mount in Jerusalem – Judaism’s holiest site and Islam’s third holiest – announced the closure of Aaron’s Tomb on Thursday after Israeli tourists had entered the site and prayed there, according to several Hebrew-language media, citing Sky News in Arabic reports.

The site is located at the top of Mount Heron, west of Petra City in southern Jordan.

The Israelis made the four-hour trek to the site on the occasion of the anniversary of the death of Aaron the High Priest, the biblical Moses’s brother.

The first day of the Hebrew month of Av – which coincides this year with Thursday evening, August 2 at sunset until Friday evening, according to the Jewish lunar calendar – marks the anniversary of Aaron’s passing. As recorded in the bible, “At God’s order, Aaron the priest went up on Mount Hor, and he died there on the first day of the fifth month of the fortieth year after the people of Israel had left the land of Egypt. Aaron was 123 years old when he died on Mount Hor.” (Numbers 33:38-39)

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The Jordanian Minister of the Waqf, Abdul Nasser Musa Abu al-Basal, ordered the closure of the site after a video surfaced showing some 500 Israelis praying there. The minister claimed that his office had not been informed of the visit in advance.

The Waqf said it will open an investigation into the incident and find the person responsible for allowing the Israelis to enter the tomb.

Roni Ayalon, the Israeli tour guide leading the group on the four-hour trek into Jordan, denied the tourists had been praying. He insisted that the visit had been coordinated.

A number of videos, however, indicated that some prayers were recited.

The tour guide told Ynet that the Jordanians “stripped down everyone.” Women’s hair coverings and men’s skull caps were removed. In addition, all religious items were taken away.