The city of Brussels refused to register the name of a locally born Israeli baby as “Jerusalem” because the name does not appear on a list of approved names for children born in the country.
That gives Israel’s capital, which is not recognized by almost any other country, the miserable distinction of not being allowed to written as “Jerusalem, Israel” on American passports and not allowed to be used as a name in Brussels.
“Alma Jerusalem” was born to Alinadav and Hagar Hyman, Israelis who have lived and worked in Brussels for the past three years, JSS News reported. Hagar is a security agent with Israel’s El Al Airlines, and Alinadav works for the Israel lobby in the European Parliament.
“We are both Jerusalemites, we grew up in Jerusalem, we met in Jerusalem and we very much miss the city, so we decided to call our first child Jerusalem,” Alinadav said. “We actually argued over whether Jerusalem would be the first or middle name, and in the end decided it would be our daughter’s middle name.”
It would be fair enough to say that “Jerusalem” is a bit of an unusual name and that the clerk’s refusal wouldn’t smell of anti-Semitism except for one other little fact: Bethlehem is on the list of approved names.
The clerk, out of ignorance or chutzpah, suggested that the Hymans names their baby with the charming Jewish name of “Bethlehem.”
Despite Jewish history in Bethlehem, one wonders what kind of Bat Mitzvah speech ‘Alma Bethlehem” could deliver in 12 years to explain her name.
Not surprisingly, the Hymans declined the generous offer.
Allinday was not even sure if the clerk was serious about refusing to allow “Jerusalem” as a name since a Finnish man in line next to him was allowed to register his baby with a name that was 25 letters long.
“I cannot say if the refusal to call the baby Jerusalem is political, but the speed with which the clerk refused us compared to how quickly the [unpronounceable] Finnish name was approved raised suspicions,” said the father.
But all is not lost.
The Brussels clerk agreed to allow “Jerusalem” as a name if the Hymans could bring an official letter from the Israeli embassy confirming that it is a valid name, then it would issue a Belgian birth certificate for the baby.
One speculative question remains unanswered: What would the clerk have said if a Palestinian Authority Arab had tried to register a babe’s name as “Jerusalem”?
By the way Mohammed for years has been the most popular name in Belgium, where Muslims compromise more than 25 percent of the population.
About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.
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