One fundamental civil right that the US government bestows on any US citizens living outside the United States is the opportunity for any child of US citizens who left America after the age of 18 to receive an American passport and American birth certificate.
And so it was when our first two children, born in Tzfat- Noam in 1982 and Rivka in 1983.
Before embarking on their first trip to the US to greet their eager grandparents in Philadelphia, we made the proverbial pilgrimage to the US embassy in Tel Aviv to process US birth certificates and passports for these foreign born yankees.
Place of birth listed on their US documents : Tfzat, Israel.
Sara and I were blessed with Elchanan in 1986, followed by Leora in 1987.
They were each born at the Misgav Ladach hospital on the western side of Jerusalem.
In 1988, getting ready to acquaint their Philadelphia grandparents with two more grandchildren, we filed applications for US citizens passports and birth certificates.
at the US consulate in Jerusalem, because they were born in Jerusalem, and we made our new home in Efrat, a Jerusalem suburb
We filled out forms for our two new children, while their big siblings patrolled the consulate courtyard with their bikes.
The service was efficient. One minor detail. Fresh passports of Elchanan and Leora printed their place of birth as Jerusalem, with no country.
Having opened up a news agency in 1987, I pulled out my press card and asked the clerk to explain this indiscretion.
With a stone face, she said: “This is a matter of policy”.
Pressing her further, she said that the political officer would be ready to explain the policy.
Climbing two flights to the inner sanctum of the US consulate, donning the press card on my lapel, the US press attache reacted with surprise to my question. “Your grandchildren got their birth certificates – what more do you want” This guy had apparently been a cast character in Oliver. (“Please sir. I want some more”…”You want more?”)
The conversation turned serious. The US press attache flipped through his files in the primordial era before Google search when officials had paper files.
He pulled out a US statute from 1949 which defined Jerusalem as an international zone, with no sovereignty for Israel.
Writing to US Senator Daniel Moynihan from New York, I got the same answer.
Jerusalem Post “In Jerusalem” correspondent Suri Ackerman made a headline out of the story of US non recognition of Jerusalem as part of Jerusalem as part of Israel. I wrote to everyone possible.
We got the same answer from all US government officials.
Fast forward to 2018. The US moved the embassy to Jerusalem. Yet no change in policy. Since that event, we have been blessed with three more grandchildren born in Jerusalem: Yishai, David Yitzhak, and Tovia.
Their new birth certificates still proclaimed: JERUSALEM, with no nation mentioned. Perhaps the US move of the embassy to Jerusalem was not real, I wrote…until the last week of October, 2020, when US families whose children were born in Jerusalem were informed by the US embassy , that their passports and birth certificates would now be updated to read: “Jerusalem, Israel”.
In other words, the US move of the embassy to Jerusalem was not “fake news”.
We call that a vindication and avictory, against all odds.