Washington DC- Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) praised news that the Israeli government has decided to keep its Philadelphia-based consulate open. Senator Casey, a member of the National Security Working Group and co-chair of the Weapons of Mass Destruction and Terrorism Caucus, wrote Israel’s Prime Minister urging him to keep the consulate open.
“I’m pleased that Israel’s government has decided to keep its Consulate General in Philadelphia open,” Senator Casey said. “Israel, Philadelphia and Pennsylvania have a strong history of economic, cultural and political partnerships and its good news that the Consulate will continue to play a role in that relationship throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.”
The full text of Casey’s letter can be seen below:
Prime Minister of Israel
Dear Prime Minister Netanyahu:
It has recently come to my attention that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel is considering closure of its consulate in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I am writing to respectfully urge you not to shutter this consulate, which is important for maintaining the strong, longstanding relationship between the people of Israel and the people of my home state of Pennsylvania.
As you will remember from your time living in our beautiful region, Philadelphia is a vibrant economic, political, and cultural hub for the East Coast. Curtailing Israel’s official representation in Philadelphia would adversely impact the historically strong ties that Pennsylvanians have enjoyed with Israel.
I understand from the Pennsylvania – Israel Chamber of Commerce that approximately $5 billion of U.S. exports to Israel pass through the greater Philadelphia region every year. Further, they report that the greater Philadelphia region boasts the second largest Jewish population on the East Coast and the fifth largest in the nation. The area is home to some of the top educational, medical, and research institutions in the United States, many of which have enjoyed fruitful partnerships with counterparts in Israel.
I appreciate the longstanding, special partnership between the United States and Israel, and I meet regularly with constituents who share this conviction. During my time in the Senate, I have given particular focus to issues important to both our countries’ national security and economic growth. While I understand you are weighing competing priorities in a challenging financial environment, I believe that keeping the Israeli Consulate in Philadelphia open is vital to the furtherance of our two nation’s shared goals.
Thank you for your consideration of my request, and I look forward to continuing to work with you and your government on issues of mutual concern.
Robert P. Casey, Jr.
United States Senator