With closure looming, Phila. asks Israel to preserve its consulate

 (<a href=Flag of Israel courtesy of Shutterstock.com) " title="shutterstock_flag-of-israel_1200x675" width="640" height="360"/>

(Flag of Israel courtesy of Shutterstock.com)

Israel is considering closing its Philadelphia consulate, according to the Jerusalem Post.

The country is considering closing one of its overseas consulates to free up resources to increase its presence in Chengdu, China. Richard Bendit, president of the Philadelphia-Israel Chamber of Commerce, argues it would not be enough for Israel to have its Northeast consulates only in Boston, New York and Washington.

“We have an official Israeli presence embedded in our community and it enables the folks in the consulate to interact with not only the Jewish community but the community in the Greater Philadelphia region on a daily basis,” he said. “And if consulate were to be closed, those types of interactions would disappear.”

Philadelphia deputy consul Elad Strohmayer declined to comment for this story, but his office has told the Philadelphia-Israel chamber no decisions have been finalized. The chamber is organizing an online petition and letter writing campaign to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Mayor Michael Nutter is on a diplomatic mission that will touch down in Israel on Wednesday. City spokesman, Mark McDonald said the mayor plans to discuss the consulate during his visit, including during a meeting with Israeli President Shimon Peres.

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