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Nutter Hoping To Keep Israeli Consulate in Philadelphia From Closing Down

By Michelle Durham

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The Israeli consulate is Philadelphia may or may not be marked for closure, but local officials including Mayor Nutter are pulling out all the stops to make sure it doesn't.

The Jerusalem Post is reporting that officials are considering closing the Philadelphia consulate to open one in China, sending shock waves through the Jewish community here.

Richard Bendit, president of the Philadelphia Israel Chamber of Commerce, is determined to keep those doors open.

"The vacuum that would be created by closing the consulate would undermine historically strong ties between local and Israeli businesses, philanthropic organizations, and other influential groups," he said today.

Mayor Nutter is en route to Israel as part of a ten-day trade mission.  His spokesperson, Mark McDonald, says the mayor will be speaking with Israeli president Shimon Peres as well as the mayors of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

"The most important argument the mayor would be making is that an Israeli consulate here benefits Israel," McDonald tells KYW Newsradio.

A spokesperson for Philadelphia's Israeli consulate says no firm decision has been made at this time.


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