Today, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America – the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, through its Institute for Public Affairs, applauded yesterday’s passage by the U.S. House of Representatives of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act including provisions recognizing the integrity of Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel.
The bill as passed contains three provisions consistent with longstanding U.S. policy recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel:
1) A provision which ensures that in issuing a U.S. passport to a U.S. citizen born in Jerusalem, the State Department shall, upon the request of the newborn’s guardian, list ‘Israel’ as the place of birth. (This directs a change in current practice under which the listing is simply ‘Jerusalem’ with no country identified.)
2) A provision which disallows the use of federal funds to operate the U.S. Consulate in East Jerusalem unless, like all other consulates around the globe, that consulate is under the supervision and authority of the U.S. Ambassador to Israel. (Currently, the East Jerusalem Consulate reports directly to the State Department as if it were an embassy in a separate nation.)
3) A provision that requires and funds expended to publish any official U.S. Government document listing nations and their capital cities to list Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel.
Nathan Diament, director of public policy for the Orthodox Union, issued the following statement in reaction to yesterday’s House action:
“The Orthodox Jewish community is deeply gratified that the U.S. House of Representatives, on a bipartisan basis, has enacted these provisions as part of the Foreign Relations Authorization bill. It has long been the policy of the United States to recognize that sovereign nations have the right to designate their capital cities. In the case of Israel, that capital is the city which has been the heart of the Jewish People for millennia — the holy city of Jerusalem — which is, and must remain, the eternal and indivisible capital of the State of Israel.
The provisions passed by the House are simple and reasonable implementations of standing U.S. policy which should not be ignored on the basis of “diplomatic sensitivities.”
We call upon friends of Israel and the Jewish community in the U.S. Senate to ensure these provisions are maintained in the final version of this legislation.
While we appreciate the Administration’s institutional interest to direct America’s foreign policy, we nonetheless appeal to the President – as one who has been a staunch friend of Israel throughout his tenure – to withdraw the Administration’s opposition to these modest and sensible provisions and allow them to implement U.S. policy.”