US hands out first Jerusalem, Israel passport to Menachem Zivotofsky

After their son Menachem’s birth in 2002, Ari and Naomi Zivotofksy asked for a passport that recorded his birthplace as Jerusalem, Israel but they received the document only this Friday – some 18 years later.“I am honored to receive this passport as a representative of the many American citizens who were born in Israel, who can now have their official government docents reflect the fact that they were born in Israel. I want to thank my parents who started this process, long before I understood anything,” Menachem said.He spoke at a brief ceremony at the US embassy in Jerusalem, in which US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman officially handed him his passport, the first one ever to link Jerusalem with the State of Israel. His parents, told The Jerusalem Post prior to the ceremony that they had requested to register his place of birth as Israel, fully believing such a step would happen, because a 2002 US Congressional Law that had just passed, gave them the option to do so.They were surprised therefore when the consular office rejected their request. The consular officer was “emphatic about it,” Ari said. They filed a legal appeal, which went twice to the US Supreme Court, that ultimately ruled that Congress has exceeded its authority and that the decision with regard to country designation was under the purview of the White House.Menachem, a slim teen, who wore a white button down shirt, black slacks and a black skull cap, said it was exciting to be part of history.Friedman said that 3,000 years ago King David established Jerusalem as the “capital of Israel.”  He recalled how in 1995 Congress had passed the Jerusalem Embassy act, that required the relocation of the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.President Donald Trump was the first head of state to honor that Congressional mandate, opening a US embassy in Jerusalem in 2018. Friedman also referenced the 2002 Congressional act, that allowed for Israel to be registered as a place of birth on the passports of those born in Jerusalem upon request.Now, he said, the Trump administration had corrected that injustice. The city of Jerusalem was deeply ingrained in “America’s DNA,” Friedman said recalling how the Pilgrims that arrived on US shores in the 18th century dreamed of building a new Jerusalem.US founders understood that “the word of God, came from this special place, Friedman said.
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