WASHINGTON (JTA) — U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey appealed to the Israeli government to keep open the Israeli consulate in Philadelphia amid reports that it may shut down.
Toomey (R-Pa.) made his request earlier this month in a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“The Israeli consulate, coupled with Southeastern Pennsylvania’s strong Jewish population, has long played an integral part in developing important business, artistic, and political ties between the United States and Israel,” wrote Toomey, a Republican. ” The loss of the consulate in Philadelphia could unfortunately hinder future growth opportunities and partnerships.”
The consulate may be shut to make way for the opening of a diplomatic mission in Chengdu, China, The Jerusalem Post reported, with Israeli representation available in the area in New York, Boston and Washington, D.C. However, no official decision has been made.
Toomey pointed out in his letter that the greater Philadelphia area is home to the second largest Jewish population on the East Coast and the fifth largest in the country.
“The region has played a key role in promoting U.S.-Israeli business development, and strengthening cultural, political and philanthropic ties between our countries,” Toomey wrote, adding, “I have no doubt that Israel maintaining an official Consulate presence in Philadelphia has contributed to this strong relationship between our two nations.”