Just days after long-time supporter former Mayor Michael Nutter left office and Philadelphia's direct route to Israel ceased, the beginning of the end came for Israel’s Consulate General in Philadelphia.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry announced Wednesday that it plans on closing Philly's Israeli Consulate and five others around the world as a cost-cutting measure, reported the Jerusalem Post.
The consulate has served as an economic and political connection between the greater Philadelphia region and Israel since 1961.
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"We can confirm that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Israel has decided to terminate operations of the Consulate General of Israel in Philadelphia by the end of 2016," said a statement from the consulate. "Until the consulate ceases its activities it will continue operations and serving the Mid-Atlantic region, once closed other Israeli missions in the U.S. will expand their reach. The Ministry will do its best to assist its local employees in this process.”
Former Mayor Nutter and the Jewish community previously staved off the closure of the consulate in 2013.
New Mayor Jim Kenney vowed to do what he could to keep Consul General Yaron Sideman in town.
"We’re obviously disappointed given our sister city relationship with Tel Aviv, and we’ll be reaching out to them to see if there’s anything we can do to change their decision," said Kenney spokeswoman Lauren Hitt. "But regardless of the outcome of those conversations we are still committed to maintaining positive relationship and open dialogue with our Israeli residents.
The consulate says it also has hopes to keep operations in Philly going.
The closure comes just hours after American Airlines took its last non-stop trip between Philadelphia and Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport.