December 12, 2013 —Mayor Michael A. Nutter received a letter from Avigdor Liberman, Israel’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, informing him that Israel’s Consulate General in Philadelphia will remain open. It had been reported previously that a decision to close the Consulate General was under consideration. The letter was personally delivered to Mayor Nutter by Yaron Sideman, Consul General of Israel to the Mid-Atlantic Region, at a board meeting of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia.
“Today’s announcement by the Minister of Foreign Affairs is tremendously exciting for the City of Philadelphia, our Jewish community, and the Consulate General. I want to thank Minister Liberman for his decision,” said Mayor Nutter. “The Consulate General of Israel in Philadelphia plays a tremendously important role in supporting our Jewish community and the strong business relationships that exist between Israel and Philadelphia. Preserving the consulate in Philadelphia was a true team effort involving the Consulate General, the Jewish Federation, Philadelphia-Israeli Chamber of Commerce, American Jewish Committee and elected officials at all levels of government. I would like to thank everyone involved. Congratulations to Consul General Yaron Sideman and the Jewish community in Philadelphia.”
Last month Mayor Nutter traveled to Israel with a delegation of community and business leaders to strengthen ties between the Philadelphia region and the State of Israel. The delegation stayed in Philadelphia’s Sister City of Tel Aviv-Yafo and was hosted by Mayor Ron Huldai. The potential closure of the consulate was high on the Mayor’s agenda, and he raised concerns about the possibility with Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Peres, U.S. Ambassador Shapiro, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mayor Huldai of Tel Aviv and Mayor Birkat of Jerusalem. A wide range of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania elected officials also expressed similar concerns to the Israeli government about the impact of the closure of the consulate.
In his letter to Mayor Nutter, Minister Liberman highlighted the success of the Mayor’s trade mission, the strength of the relationship between Philadelphia and Tel Aviv, and the values shared between the Philadelphia region and the State of Israel.
“I laud the tireless efforts made by Mayor Nutter and so many others to keep the Consulate open, efforts that bore fruit in the form of this exciting news,” said Consul General Yaron Sideman. “It is now up to all of us to roll up our sleeves and continue with the task of working together to strengthen the ties between Israel and Philadelphia. The many partnerships that have emerged as a result of the recent the Mayor led trip to Israel are a perfect starting point.”