New York, NY, August 10, 2009 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) expressed concern over recurrent reports of Jordanian authorities denying entry to Jewish tourists carrying religious items. Tourists trying to enter Jordan from Israel have reported confiscations of religious objects essential to observant Jews, including prayer books, prayer shawls and phylacteries (tefillin).
"This stringent measure has the unfortunate result of preventing observant Jews, who pray three times a day with a prayer book, and use phylacteries daily, from visiting and experiencing Jordan," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "Contrary to assurances we received from the Jordanian government when we raised this issue in 2006, the continued practice of refusing to allow religious Jews to enter Jordan with these religious objects does not 'promote religious dialogue and acceptance,' it does just the opposite."
In a letter to Jordan's King Abdullah II, ADL said, "We fully appreciate Jordan's intentions to ensure that Israeli and Jewish tourists to the Kingdom are as secure as possible. However, we continue to believe that measures can be undertaken that would respect the religious practices of Israeli and Jewish tourists, and permit them to enter Jordan with their ritual objects."
ADL has previously been in contact with Jordanian authorities on this issue. In a 2006 reply, Jordanian Foreign Minister Abdelelah Ilah Khatib pledged that Jordan will continue to be a "leading country in promoting religious dialogue and acceptance (and) in that spirit Jordan will never condone or indulge in any acts of religious discrimination against any group."