Senator Asks Netanyahu: Keep Philadelphia Consulate Open

Israel's Foreign Ministry mulling closing one of its embassies in order to free funds for a new diplomatic mission in China.

U.S. Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania appealed early November to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, asking him to keep open the Israeli consulate in Philadelphia amid reports that it may shut down.

Israel's Foreign Ministry has been mulling the closing one of its embassies recently in order to free funds for a new diplomatic mission in Chengdu, China, The Jerusalem Post reported. Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin said on Nov. 6 that the Philadelphia consulate has been targeted due to already ample diplomatic representation in nearby New York, Boston and Washington. No official decision has yet been made.

“The Israeli consulate in Philadelphia has long played an integral part in developing important business, artistic, and political ties between the United States and Israel," wrote Republican Senator Toomey in his letter to Netanyahu, hoping to hold off the consulate's impending shut down. "The loss of the consulate could unfortunately hinder future growth opportunities and partnerships."

Toomey also pointed out that the greater Philadelphia area is home to the second largest Jewish population on the East Coast and the fifth largest in the country.