An internal debate has reportedly arisen in the Foreign Ministry over the possibility of shuttering the Israeli consulate in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in order to free up funds for a new diplomatic post in China.
The ministry has decided to open a new consulate in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province in Southwest China. The city is an important financial and industrial hub, and ministry officials want to promote an Israeli presence in the lucrative Far East.
Financing the new consulate, however, would mean closing down another.
Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin, of the prime minister’s Likud party, has suggested that the ministry shut down the consulate in Philadelphia, as there are five other Israeli consulates on the East Coast alone. But other Foreign Ministry officials oppose doing so, according to Walla news, out of fear that closing down a consulate in the US to open one in China could be interpreted as a problematic diplomatic statement.
A decision must be made in the upcoming days, according to the report, and ministry officials told Walla that the appointment of a new consul in Boston would be postponed until a consensus is reached with regard to Chengdu.