WASHINGTON - American parents of a boy born in Jerusalem can go to court to argue that their son's US passport can list Israel as his birthplace, the US Supreme Court ruled on Monday in a setback for the US government.
Since the founding of Israel in 1948, successive American governments have declined to recognize any country as having sovereignty over Jerusalem, which is home to the holiest sites in Judaism and Christianity and to the third holiest site in Islam.
The State Department, applying long-standing US policy, insisted that nine-year-old Menachem Zivotofsky's birth certificate, and thus his passport, show Jerusalem - with no country specified - as the place of birth.
It rejected his mother's request that it also list Israel.
The parents, Naomi and Ari Zivotofsky, filed a lawsuit in 2003 challenging this in federal court in Washington, DC, basing their argument on a 2002 American law, passed just before Menachem was born.