Is Jerusalem in Israel? Ask the Supreme Court
The State Department says no, Congress says yes. Now the justices will decide a case involving a boy’s passport.
by Akiva Shapiro, WSJ, Oct. 31, 2014
“Menachem Binyamim Zivotofsky is soon to become a bar mitzvah, but his place of birth is still in dispute.
This much is clear: He was born on Oct. 17, 2002, in Shaare Zedek Hospital, in western Jerusalem. His parents, Ari and Naomi, are U.S. citizens, which makes him a U.S. citizen as well. But when his mother visited the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv to apply for a passport and birth documentation for her newborn son, and listed his “place of birth” on both applications as Israel, consular officials balked.
Since 1948, successive U.S. presidents have taken the position that Jerusalem is a city without a country, pending the conclusion of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Under State Department policy, personal-status documents of Jerusalem-born U.S. citizens such as Mr. Zivotofsky list only the city “Jerusalem” as the passport holder’s place of birth, and not Israel….
…In 2002 Congress stepped in and passed a law that directs the Secretary of State to permit U.S. citizens born in Jerusalem to choose to list “Israel” as their place of birth.”