CBNnews.com - ARAVA BORDER CROSSING - Jordanian border guards are now instructing Israeli tourists to turn over all items that would identify them as Jewish before they can enter the country.
The Jordanians call the requirement to turn over Bibles, siddurim (prayer books), tefillin (phylacteries), and the like a security precaution.
"The Jewish symbols will make it easier for terrorist elements to identify Israelis," one Jordanian official explained.
Earlier this week, a group of 30 religious Jews canceled their plans to visit Petra after Jordanian security guards took their prayer books.
Jordan's claim that it was for security reasons didn't ring true.
"It sounded a little far-fetched," Trix Richter, a member of the group, said.
"I hate to think what would happen if the State of Israel confiscated copies of the Koran from Muslim tourists or copies of the New Testament from Christian tourists. The rest of the world would be upset," he said.
An Israeli Foreign Ministry official said Jordan has beefed up its security precautions for Jewish tourists.
"They claim it has to do with security measures," the official said.
"They believe tourists who can be recognized as Jews would be an easier target for terrorists," he said.
According to YNet news, the Foreign Ministry and the Israeli embassy in Amman will ask the Jordanians to lift the restrictions against Jewish tourists.
"It must be understood that this decision stems from a genuine desire to keep the Israel tourists safe," said one ministry official.
"There is no anti-Semitic sentiment [behind the decision] -- just the desire to protect tourists the best that they can," he said.
Source: YNet news