New Zealand – Sea Scare: Orthodox Man Puting Teffilin Caused Sunday Terror Alert [video]

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    A helicopter carrying emergency personnel above the Kaitaki (Mat Scott)New Zealand – A devout Israeli tourist aboard the Interisland ferry Kaitaki sparked a bomb scare and police armed offenders’ alert today after the ship’s captain spotted boxes and what looked like wires taped to the man.

    “One individual had two boxes attached, one box taped to his leg and one box seemingly taped to his forehead,” Kiwirail spokesman Kevin Ramshaw told NZPA.

    Jewish websites describe a traditional prayer ritual where a small black leather box called a “tefillin” containing verses from the bible is taped to the arm and forehead.

    “These may well have been part of religious observance, but to people who are involved in the travel business, there were what seemed to be wires attached to them.”

    Mr Ramshaw said the captain then followed normal procedure by notifying police of his suspicions, sparking an armed offenders’ alert in Picton.

    Crew then spent a nervous three hours closely observing the man as they sailed the Cook Strait, to avoid mass panic.

    “Staff felt the better thing to do was observe and stay away.”

    Mr Ramshaw said the 750 passengers aboard the ferry on the Wellington-Picton trip were “probably” not aware of the perceived threat.

    Police spoke to the Israeli tourist and his three travelling companions upon arrival at Picton, before releasing them without charge.

    “The guys were, in the eyes of people, acting suspicious, but in actual fact they weren’t,” Senior Sergeant Peter Payne told NZPA. “I believe that they were just going to pray or doing something like that.”
    Picton police leave the Interislander Terminal as the Police Special Tactics Group (STG) prepare to leave in a HELiPRO helicopter.Blair Ensor
    Reports the captain had been taken hostage were inaccurate.

    “There is no hostage, there is nothing like that at all, no explosives, no firearms or anything … They haven’t done anything wrong at all.”

    Southern Communications Inspector Paul Fremaux said police were obliged to take such reports seriously, particularly when they involved members of the public.

    “The captain spoke to us and he was concerned and I guess anyone … who is charge of any transport with members of the public, you’ve got to take it reasonably seriously, and we did, until proven otherwise.”

    In January this year, a plane flying from New York to Kentucky was diverted to Philadelphia after a 17-year-old boy using a tefillin to pray alarmed passengers and crew, who feared a bomb scare. He was released without charge.

    Mr Ramshaw said police told him the tourists were very understanding of their detention and came from a military background in Israel.

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    17 COMMENTS

    1. Some dumb yid worried abou zman shachris is going to get himself shot by security police who don’t know what tefillin are. If you can’t daven before you leave on your trip, wait till you get where you are going. The ebeshter will understand and you won’t create panic among the goyim who confuse you with a suicide bomber.

      • u got it all wrong. of course no one is telling u to wrap teffillin on your arm frantically in the middle of a busy airport while fidgeting with the straps and looking over your soldier to make sure no one is watching… then you’ll get shot. but to go over to a corner calmly and quietly to don teffillin will result nothing but a kidush Hashem. sorry to say it, if u wont daven in the airport, who told u to book such an early flight which wont allow u to daven before zman tefillah?

    2. the word tefilin is in the dictionary so it is not an unknown thing. But, hey, if someone wants to pray in public maybe he should inform security what he plans to do before hand so they won’t get all suspicious about it.

    3. Some years ago, when non-Jews would see a Jew put on Tefillin in a public place, they would laugh or ridicule them. But to react with fear and panic, is only a result of the muslim “Suicide Bombers”.

    4. Of course we are in Galus but is that a reason that we can’t davin where and when we whant of course we can I actualy look forward to davining in an airport I think that a kiddush hashem

    5. When the German-Austrian military was deployed in Galicia during the First world War, there were cases of Jews being arrested on espionage charges (signalling to the enemy) for wearing tefillin or even for saying kiddush levana in public. Things haven’t changed much at all, just the way the threat is phrased.

    6. To #5- I agree with #2; it is better to postpone davening, than to creat a panic, amoung gentiles who are ignorant of our ways. Unfortunately, this type of incident has happened a number of times before, especially on aircraft, even in the USA. The vast majority of the gentile public, don’t know what Tephillen are. Many of the TSA agents don’t know what Tephillen are, either (perhaps with the exception of those at the NYC airports, or at LAX). Incidentally, the word “you” is not spelled “u”.

    7. Freakin idiots(the cops) then approach the guy and ask him what he is doing. Besides how many jews look like terrorists,or dangerous? except maybe yemeni or middle eastern jews. who are of dark complexsion.

    8. It’s not so simple to say daven when you land etc. Try taking an 11 PM flight from Chicago to London, where you arrive at 11 AM and get to your destination at 1PM.

      Wit the heightened security awareness, the solution is obvious, just tell the flight/ship attendant ahead of time.

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