POLITICS

DOJ argues against naming Israel as birthplace of boy born in Jerusalem

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Michal Conger

A U.S. Department of Justice attorney argued Tuesday against listing Israel as the birthplace of an American boy born in Jerusalem on his passport.

DOJ attorney Dana Kaersvang told the appeals court panel that because the State Department does not recognize Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem, the boy cannot list the country as his birthplace, according to a report from the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

The family’s attorney argued that listing birthplace is simply self-identification and shouldn’t be affected by U.S. policy. The American couple, Ari and Naomi Siegman Zivotofsky, moved to Israel in 2000 and had their son in Jerusalem.

The Supreme Court sent the case back to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia last year, saying the appeals court must rule on the constitutionality of a 2002 law that the State Department “shall” list Israel on a passport if it is requested.

A decision is not expected for several months, JTA reports.

The hearing happened the day before President Obama landed in Israel on his first visit there as president, affirming Israel as the ”historic homeland of the Jewish people.”

“As I begin this visit, let me say as clearly as I can — the United States of America stands with the State of Israel because it is in our fundamental national security interest to stand with Israel,” Obama told Israeli officials this morning.

“That’s why the United States was the very first nation to recognize the State of Israel 65 years ago,” he concluded. “That’s why the Star of David and the Stars and Stripes fly together today.  And that is why I’m confident in declaring that our alliance is eternal, it is forever – lanetzach.”

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