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No, You Were Not Born in Jerusalem, Israel No, You Were Not Born in Jerusalem, Israel

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No, You Were Not Born in Jerusalem, Israel


The al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem.(AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)

On Tuesday, a court struck down a law that allows U.S. citizens born in Jerusalem to list their birthplace as "Israel."

The law, signed in 2002, violated the president's sole authority to determine who controls the ancient city, according to the three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia.


Since Israel was founded in 1948, no U.S. president has said that Israel solely controls Jerusalem—a topic that has been contentious for any peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians, as both claim the holy city.

The court confirmed the State Department's concerns, leaving the authority to the president and not Congress, according to Reuters. Since the law was passed, State has refused to enforce the law, given they have authority over U.S. passports. The ruling by the three-judge panel was unanimous.

The case involved the Zivotofsky family, who wanted to list Israel as the country of birth for their son Menachem, who was born in Jerusalem in 2002.


If the law would have been confirmed, the estimated 50,000 U.S. citizens born in Jerusalem could have changed their passports. Very few countries call Jerusalem the capital of Israel, as most embassies are located in Tel Aviv.

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