U.S. Rep Allyson Schwartz is urging Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to close the Israeli consulate in Philadelphia.
In a letter sent Nov. 7, Schwartz, who is from Montgomery County and is running for governor, said that ensuring that the Israeli office remains open is one of her “highest priorities.”
Israeli officials have said they are considering the move as a cost-cutting measure so other diplomatic missions could open, possibly in China. They say that offices in Boston, Washington, D.C., and New York could provide services for the mid-Atlantic region, which is curently under the Philadelphia consulate’s jurisdiction.
“I am proud of the role that the Greater Philadelphia region plays in accelerating U.S.-Israeli business development, advocating pro-Israeli causes, and strengthening cultural, political and philanthropic ties between our countries,” wrote Schwartz, the state’s only Jewish member of Congress. “Any decision to close” the consulate “would weaken ties between our region” and Israeli entities.
During a recent visit to Israel, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter also told Israeli President Shimon Peres and Foreign Ministry officials that the consulate should remain open. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett also wrote to Netanyahu last week to urge him not to shutter the local mission.