Deputy mayors from around Israel who are assembled in Eilat, had planned a tour of the mystical red rock city of Petra in Jordan Tuesday morning, but at the border crossing, the Haredi delegates in the group were told to remove their yarmulkes and Tzitzit (fringed religious garments), Kikar Hashabat reporter Itzik Ohana twitted.
תקרית במעבר ירדן – עשרות סגני ראשי ערים דתיים וחרדים התבקשו להוריד ציציות וכיפות כדי להיכנס למדינה, לאחר שסירבו בתוקף – הירדנים אסרו את כניסתם. pic.twitter.com/DFWrGRMKap
— איציק אוחנה (@ok125125) December 3, 2019
Most delegates refused to remove their Jewish articles of clothing, and most of the Haredi members made their way back to their hotel in Eilat.
But a number of delegates removed their yarmulkes and tzitzit and entered Jordan.
Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Yossi Deitch told Radio Kol Chai Tuesday morning on the phone from the Israeli-Jordan border: “We arrived, all the deputy mayors, for a trip in Petra, and they demanded that we remove the yarmulkes and tzitzis. It was shocking to see the pile of yarmulkes and tzitzis over here. It’s anti-Semitic and humiliating.”
Deputy mayors Yossi Deitch, Zvika Cohen, Israel Kellerman, Haim Cohen, Avi Stern, Ya’akov Muelimi, Eliezer Rauchberger and Itzik Brenner managed to get across the border before the Jordanian authorities decided to stop the entry of Jews wearing religious articles of clothing, but they were stopped and returned to Israel a short while later.
“It was shameful to see the pile of tzitzis at the crossing,” another deputy mayor told Kikar Hashabbat. “We were asked to deposit every item that was considered Jewish. Such a shame, there is no country in the world that demands this. We are not ashamed of our Judaism. We preferred not to enter Jordan.”
“We will not remove our tzitzis even for a second,” Ramla’s deputy mayor Maor Ashesh told Kikar Hashabbat. “All of us will return to the hotel. The secular deputies, too, are shocked by the behavior of the Jordanians. We will not give up our Jewish articles.”
MK Melchiali (Shas) sent an urgent letter to Foreign Minister Israel Katz (Likud), asking him to convene an urgent meeting to investigate the Jordan Crossing scandal, saying: “This is reminiscent of dark periods of the Jewish people’s past.”