Jerusalem to be officially recognized as Israel in US passports

The move marks a departure from historical State Department policy regarding Jerusalem in American passports.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

An announcement that U.S. citizens born in Jerusalem can list ‘Israel’ as their place of birth on their passports may come by the end of this week, Politico reported Wednesday evening.

The move marks a departure from historical State Department policy regarding Jerusalem in American passports.

Until now, American citizens born in Jerusalem were not able to list their place of birth as Israel in their passports – instead, under place of birth, an American passport reads “Jerusalem.”

Although President Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in 2017, State Department policy did not list Jerusalem as part of Israel on American passports, in an attempt to maintain neutrality on Jerusalem’s “disputed” status.

On the State Department site, under “Unusual Circumstances Regarding Place of Birth,” the policy reads, “U.S. policy recognizes that Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip are territories whose final status must be determined by negotiations.”

“The Place of Birth for persons born in Jerusalem is Jerusalem. Do not list Israel for persons born within the current municipal borders of Jerusalem.”

In 2015, the parents of Menachem Zivotofsky, an American citizen born in Jerusalem, brought a suit challenging the State Department policy to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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The Zivotofskys’ suit called on the State Department to adjust its policy to fit the Foreign Relations Authorization Act passed by Congress in 2002.

The law stated that “for the issuance of a passport of a United States citizen born in the city of Jerusalem, the Secretary shall, upon the request of the citizen or the citizen’s legal guardian, record the place of birth as Israel.”

However, the Supreme Court decided against the Zivotofsky family, striking down the law and ruling that Congress had overstepped its authority and that only the president may decide how to recognize foreign entities.

“Recognition is a matter on which the nation must speak with one voice. That voice is the president’s,” wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy in the court’s majority opinion.