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Issue Position: Moving the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem

Issue Position

Location: Unknown

For 3,000 years, Jerusalem has been the cultural and religious focal point of the Jewish people. Israel has the right to have Jerusalem recognized as its capital. Yet the US refused to open an embassy in Jerusalem and instead operates an embassy in Tel Aviv. Throughout my time in Congress, I have supported moving our embassy to Jerusalem. In 1998, I introduced the Jerusalem and Berlin Embassy Relocation Act, which would have prohibited the expenditure of State Department funds for the construction of a new embassy in Berlin (to which Germany was then moving its capital) unless the construction of an embassy in Jerusalem commenced simultaneously. Recently, I cosponsored the Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act, which requires that the US Embassy in Israel be established in Jerusalem no later than January 1, 2013. This is strong legislation which does not allow the State Department to waive or delay. I have also been a consistent advocate of allowing Jerusalem-born American citizens have "Israel" listed as the country of birth in their US passports. The current and previous Administrations have not enforced the provisions of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2003, which was signed into law in 2002, regarding US citizens born in Israel. That legislation, which I strongly supported in 2002, required that passports
of American citizens born in Jerusalem denote "Israel" as their place of birth if they choose to do so. The longstanding State Department practice has been to note the place of birth on the passports of such citizens as simply "Jerusalem." Along with others, I submitted an amicus brief to the United States Supreme Court in September 2011 regarding the case Zivotofsky v. Clinton, that further expresses my strong support for a change in the State Department's policy. The Supreme Court is hearing arguments in the Zivotofsky family's challenge to the State Department policy that prevents nine-year old Menachem Zivotofsky from having his passport show he was born in Israel. I hope that the eventual decision of the Supreme Court will require the Executive Branch to enforce the important law passed in 2002.

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