OU Expresses Disappointment in Supreme Court Striking Down Jerusalem Passport Law


israel-passportJewish organizations are expressing disappointment with this morning’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court striking down a law permitting U.S. citizens born in Jerusalem to have “Israel” listed as their birthplace in their U.S. passport. The ruling was 6-3 in the case of Zivotofsky v. Kerry.

The Orthodox Union actively worked to have the legislation passed by Congress and joined with other leading American Jewish organizations in filing a friend of the court brief urging the justices to uphold the law. The Court, in an opinion written by Justice Kennedy, held that the Constitution grants the president the exclusive power to recognize foreign nations, and passport contents are part of that executive power. Justice Scalia, joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito, dissented, saying the Constitution divides responsibility for foreign affairs between Congress and the president.

Nathan Diament, executive director for public policy of the Orthodox Union, stated:

“We are, of course, disappointed by today’s ruling by the Supreme Court. But we are more disappointed by the persistent policy of the United States government—carried out by successive presidents—to treat the capital city of Israel with less respect than that accorded to capital cities of virtually every other nation. Jerusalem is unquestionably the capital of Israel. It is where Israel’s president resides, parliament sits and supreme court convenes. Moreover, over history, Jerusalem has only ever served as a capital city for the Jewish people—as it does today. Even after this court decision, it is high time for the U.S. Administration to acknowledge the reality of Israel’s capital—Jerusalem.”



  1. two of my kids were born in yerushalayim more than 50 years ago. their passports read: jerusalem palestine, israel held or jerusalem palestine via israel. when my daughter appliede for a passport to go to seminary, the passport office was annoyed when she worte country of birth-….israel held. they told her that she had to make up her mind as to country of birth. she answered: that’s what YOU wrote. another problem was that the birth certificate asked for ‘religion’ and ‘nationality’. my husband wanted to list nationality as USA, but israel would not permit that. if the dat was yehudi, then the l’oom had to be israeli.