WASHINGTON — A dispute over a passport for an American boy born in a Jerusalem hospital could land in the Supreme Court.
Two months after Menachem Zivotofsky was born in 2002, his mother showed up at the US Embassy in Tel Aviv to get him a passport.
Menachem’s parents, Ari and Naomi, were born in the United States so there was no question that he was American, too.
But when the mother asked that her son’s passport and other documents indicate that he was born in Israel, State Department officials refused, citing longstanding US policy to refrain from expressing an official view about Jerusalem’s status.
Israel has proclaimed the once-divided city as its capital; the United States and most nations do not recognize Jerusalem as the capital.
The justices could say as early as today whether they will hear the case, a mix of the thorny politics of the Middle East and a fight between Congress and the president over primacy in foreign policy.
Had Menachem been born in Tel Aviv, the State Department would have issued a passport listing his place of birth as Israel.
But the department’s guide tells consular officials, “for a person born in Jerusalem, write Jerusalem as the place of birth in the passport.’’
Ever since President Truman recognized Israel upon its declaration of nationhood in 1948, no president has accepted permanent Israeli rule of the entirety of Jerusalem.