Today, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, joined with other leading Jewish organizations in urging the United States Supreme Court to uphold a federal law which requires the State Department to record “Jerusalem, Israel” – as opposed to just “Jerusalem” – on the passports of American citizens’ children born in Israel’s capital city.  The Orthodox Union joined in a “friend of the court” brief together with the Anti-Defamation League, the newly formed “Association of Proud American Citizens Born in Jerusalem” and others.

The amicus brief was filed in the case of Menachem Zivotofsky v. Clinton.  The case involves Menachem, the son of two American citizens residing in Jerusalem, who was born in Jerusalem and thus entitled to a U.S. passport.  In 1995, Congress passed legislation  saying the U.S. should recognize a united Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.   Shortly before Menachem’s birth in 2002, lawmakers passed new provisions urging the president to take steps to move the embassy to Jerusalem and allowing Americans born in Jerusalem to have their place of birth listed as Israel.  Zivotofsky has sued the State Department to implement this law.  His claim was rejected by lower federal courts and will come to the Supreme Court in the Fall.

The legal brief in which the Orthodox Union joined contends that Congress has the constitutional authority to enact the law requiring the listing of “Jerusalem, Israel” in such passports.

Nathan Diament, National Director of Public Policy for the Orthodox Union, issued the following statement in connection with the legal brief’s filing:

“The Orthodox Union has long been a leading advocate for the principle that the holy city of Jerusalem is the eternal and indivisible capital of the State of Israel and the Jewish People.  In this case, this principle is buttressed by the factual reality that Israel has made the modern city of Jerusalem its political capital.  This fact has been recognized again and again by the U.S. Congress and duly enacted laws, even as such recognition has been practically unrecognized by the Executive Branch.  The practice of the State Department to refuse compliance with the law is wrong and ought to be overturned by the Supreme Court.”