Daily Israel Report

Court: U.S. Doesn't Have to List Israel on Jerusalem Passports

The State Department does not have to honor a law that requires passports issued in Jerusalem to list Israel as their country of issue.
By David Lev
First Publish: 7/23/2013, 11:49 PM

Jerusalem
Jerusalem
Israel news photo: Flash 90

A federal appeals court has for a second time thrown out a case challenging the State Department's refusal to list Israel as the birthplace of children born in Jerusalem. The court reiterated an earlier decision that Congress had no right to mandate that Jerusalem was a part of Israel for passport purposes. That decision, the court said, was solely that of the State Department and the executive branch.

The case revolved around a challenge to the State Department's policy based on the Congressional law, which stated that the United States recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital. The law entails numerous implications, one of them being Israel ought to appear as the country on passports issued in Jerusalem. Currently, no country is associated with Jerusalem on U.S. passports.

The case, Zivotofsky v. Department of State, was originally brought for action in the courts in 2002. The courts have now ruled three times on the case, the first being when it was first filed, allowing the case, brought by an American family, Ari and Naomi Zivotofsky, who had a child Menachem, born in Jerusalem, to go forward. The appeals court threw the case out in 2009, but the Supreme Court last year said that the case could proceed.

On Tuesday, the appeals court said that while the Zivotofskys had the proper standing to file the case, the fact that matters of state are constitutionally allocated to the executive branch meant that the Congressional law could not be used as a basis for requiring Jerusalem to be associated with Israel on U.S. passports.