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Israelis asked to remove skullcaps before entering Jordan

Jordan-Israel border crossing [Flickr]
Jordan-Israel border crossing [Flickr]

An Israeli delegation consisted of 100 officials was stopped and carefully inspected at Jordanian-Israeli border crossing as they were heading to Amman, Israeli media reported on Tuesday.

The delegation, which included religious and ultra-Orthodox deputy mayors of Israeli Jewish settlements were heading to Petra for an official tour.

Israeli media reported that the religious and ultra-Orthodox members of the Israeli delegation were asked to replace their skullcaps with hats for their safety, the Jewish News Syndicate (JNS) reported Israel Hayom saying.

Jewish members of the delegation said that they were inspected three times and after the third time, the Jordanian security at the crossing contacted Amman to ask for their entry was permissable.

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"During the first security check, we were told [by Jordanian border security] to take off our kipahs and put hats on instead," the JNS reported Moshe Goldstein, the seputy mayor of Israeli city of Givatayim saying.

He added: "When the security screening was over, they stopped us again because they realised some in the group were wearing tzitzit [knotted ritual fringes]."

"After the second inspection, they still weren't pleased and asked the entire group to wait for a third security screening. At this point, our guide said that they contacted Amman for approval and that we had to sign something saying we were only going to visit Petra and nothing else."

Members of the delegation described the inspection as lengthy and humiliating, according to the Times of Israel, noting it included searches of the officials' bodies and pockets.

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The Times of Israel reported that Shas MK Michael Malchieli had sent an urgent letter to the Foreign Minister Israel Katz demanding that a meeting be convened on the matter.

"This reminds us of dark periods in history," Malchieli wrote. "No country in the world can demand that, and this kind of incident cannot go without a response and serve as a dangerous precedent."

Jordanian security officials said the inspections were carried out in an effort to protect the visitors.

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