The efforts of Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter to ensure the Israeli Consulate General office in Philadelphia remained open – including the recent completion of a whirlwind visit to the state, geared toward strengthening Philadelphia-Israeli cultural and business ties while bonding with Mayor Ron Huldai of Tel Aviv and Mayor Nir Birkat of Jersulem – have paid off, as Nutter recently received a hand-delivered letter from Israeli Foreign Affairs Minister Avigdor Liberman notifying Nutter of the Israeli government’s decision to maintain a consulate presence in Philadelphia.
Yaron Siderman, Consul General of Israel to the Mid-Atlantic Region, delivered the letter to Nutter during a December meeting of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia.
In his letter confirming the Consulate General will remain open, Liberman celebrated the rich ties between Philadelphia and Tel Aviv.
“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,” Siderman said. “It is not 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 trip to Israel are a perfect point.”
Nutter, Past President of the United States Conference of Mayors, and a contingent of political, business and cultural leaders visited Israel in November as a part of a ten-day trade mission that also included a visit to the United Kingdom.
“The world is getting to know Philadelphia, and we need to be much more aggressive in promoting this city and telling Philadelphia’s story,” Nutter said when the delegation returned to Philadelphia. “Based on the feedback we received from the Philadelphia businesses that joined the delegation, as well as what we heard from UK and Israeli companies that we met with, the trade mission was a great success. There is tremendous interest in our city, and we must get used to the fact that Philadelphia is a global city and a player on the international stage.”
According to Nutter’s office, during the ten-day tour, Nutter and members of his team met with Israeli President Shimon Peres; Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; US Ambassadors to both the United Kingdom and Israel; HRH Prince Edward the Earl of Wessex and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Now that it has become official that the Consulate General in Philadelphia will remain open, Nutter highlighted the benefits of its presence while thanking everyone that made it possible.
“The 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,” Nutter said. “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.”