Jordanian security inspection officials cut off the leather straps of a Rav’s tefillin at the Queen Alia International Airport in Amman on Monday.
HaRav Moshe Haliva, the Rav of the Sephardi kehilla in Dubai, flew from Israel to Abu Dhabi via Amman. When Rav Haliva went through security in Amman, security officials confiscated his tefillin, and after an hour and a half of arguments, and despite the Rav’s pleas that it was a religious object, they cut the tefillin straps in front of him and returned the batim to him.
“I cried, I begged,” Rav Haliva told Ynet. “I explained to them that it’s a holy object, I told them that we’re cousins, that we also daven to Allah. I told them that there’s no metal inside, they could check in the machine – that there’s writing from the Torah inside like your Quran.”
“They told me that if the tefillin were in my suitcase it would have been all right but it’s forbidden for me to take it in my hand luggage inside the airplane because it’s dangerous. One of them gestured with his hand that I can choke someone [with the straps].”
“I told them that I fly all over the world and there are thousands of Jews that fly around the world and they never used this holy object to choke someone. I explained that the tefillin are very costly. I told them I would send the tefillin back to Tel Aviv – but nothing helped.”
“There were six officials surrounding me. They requested that I show them how to use the tefillin and I put them on in front of them. They were curious but in the end, they demanded that I move on and leave the tefillin behind. Again, I begged and cried. They then cut the straps and gave me the batim.”
The security officials threatened to call the police if Rav Haliwa continued to protest. “It was appalling,” Rav Haliwa said. “It reminded me of scenes from the 1930s when they cut Jews’ payos off. I was humiliated but I didn’t want them to call the police. The incident felt very antisemitic.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)