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U.S. court: Americans born in Jerusalem not from ‘Israel’

WASHINGTON (JTA) — A federal court upheld the State Department’s refusal to list “Israel” as the country of birth for Americans born in Jerusalem.

The 42-page decision released Tuesday by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia delved into constitutional law in finding that Congress, in passing a 2002 law mandating the listing of “Israel” should Americans born in Jerusalem request it, impinged on the executive branch’s foreign policy prerogative.

President Obama and his predecessor, George W. Bush, have refused to implement the law, saying it violates longstanding policy that does not recognize any nation’s sovereignty in the city and leaves its status to be decided in peace talks.

The request to list Israel “runs headlong into a carefully calibrated and longstanding Executive branch policy of neutrality toward Jerusalem,” the court ruled.

The case was brought on behalf of Menachem Zivotofsky, 11, who was born in Jerusalem in 2002 shortly after the law was passed.

In 2009, an appeals court ruled that the judiciary had no standing in the case, but the Supreme Court forced the court to reconsider last year. Arguments were heard in March.

Lawyers for Zivotofsky said they would appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court, as they did following the 2009 ruling.

“We hope that before Menachem Binyamin Zivotofsky’s bar mitzvah, he will be able to bear a passport that recognizes his birthplace as ‘Israel,’ ” attorneys Nathan and Alyza Lewin said in a statement.

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