‘Like the Holocaust’ – Rabbi ‘humiliated’ in Jordanian airport, prayer items destroyed

“I cried and pleaded,” Rabbi Haliwa said, describing an incident in which Jordanian airport staff desecrated sacred Jewish prayer object.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Jordanian customs officials targeted a rabbi transiting through Queen Alia Airport in Amman and intentionally desecrated a sacred Jewish ritual object in his possession in an incident that the victim said was reminiscent of the Holocaust.

Rabbi Moshe Haliwa, who lives in Israel but is the leader of a Sephardic Jewish community in the UAE, told media that he was “humiliated” by Jordanian officials while flying from Tel Aviv to Dubai.

The incident “reminded me of images from the Holocaust of Nazis cutting off the payot (sidelocks) and beards of Jews,” Haliwa told the Times of Israel. “It was quite harrowing.”

Upon landing in Amman and waiting for a connecting flight to Dubai, Haliwa said that he was singled out by Jordanian airport officials, who “wanted to check my bag for whatever reason. They wanted to play power games.”

The Jordanian security guards declared that Haliwa could not fly with his tefillin (phylacteries) due to “security reasons,” despite the fact that the rabbi has flown with them – including on that exact route – on numerous occasions.

“I cried and pleaded,” Haliwa told Ynet. “I explained that it’s sacred. That we [Arabs and Jews] are cousins who pray to the same God. That there’s [nothing dangerous] inside and it’s safe. They insisted I can’t take it inside the plane because I might use the rope to choke someone.”

A senior security supervisor at the airport refused to budge, even after Haliwa demonstrated how to wrap tefillin to prove they were not a weapon or security risk.

“They said if I kept arguing they would call the police,” Haliwa said.

Worried about what would become of the tefillin if he left them behind in Jordan, he decided to allow them to cut the straps, so that he could take the boxes with him to Dubai.

Without straps, the tefillin can no longer be used, although they can be repaired.

Haliwa dismissed excuses that the incident stemmed from a cultural misunderstanding.

“It was appalling,” he told Ynet. “It felt very antisemitic.”

He added that he would never again transit through Jordan and urged Jews and Israelis to avoid layovers in the country.

The post ‘Like the Holocaust’ – Rabbi ‘humiliated’ in Jordanian airport, prayer items destroyed appeared first on World Israel News.

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