Officials from the Jordanian government disgracefully removed the leather straps off the Tefillin worn by Dubai’s Sefardic Chief Rabbi.
Rabbi Moshe Khaliva’s Tefillin were cut by airport security personnel in Amman as he tried to get on an aircraft to Abu Dhabi.
According to the Jordanians, the leather straps were taken off since they may be used “to hang a person during flight.” The Rabbi begged the authorities, but in vain.
I sobbed and begged,” he admitted. “I explained why it is holy. that we pray to the same G-d and are related. that it is secure and free of metal. They insisted I couldn’t bring it onboard the aircraft because I might choke someone with the rope.
“I assured them that Jews frequently go through foreign airports and have never suffocated anyone. I described how sacred and priceless it is. It was useless. Six gathered around me and demanded that I demonstrate how to operate it for them. I did, but they insisted that I leave it. Ultimately, I consented for them to remove the straps but leave the rest.
The Rabbi said, “That was disgusting. It made me think of instances when Jews’ sideburns were trimmed in the 1930s.
Although ashamed, I didn’t want the police to be called. The encounter had a strong anti-Semitic vibe.
Authorities in Jordan have frequently desecrated holy Jewish artifacts and displayed hostility toward Jews.
A family was refused admission in 2015 because of their yarmulkes, and a group of Charedim was arrested in a hotel in 2017 and had several of their religious items seized.
Israeli officials underwent a “humiliating test” in 2019 that included looking through their wallets for yarmulkes and removing women’s religious head coverings.
In July of last year, Yeshiva students were asked to remove all religious clothing, including yarmulkes, and replace them with hats.