A year after the Israeli Consulate in Atlanta was again spared the ax by the State of Israel, a spokesman told the Atlanta Jewish Times that there are no plans to close the Midtown office, which represents Israel and serves Israelis in seven states.
In January 2018, the Atlanta Consulate was on a list of seven of Israel’s 103 diplomatic missions scheduled to be closed by 2022 under a budget agreement that included nearly $12 million in pay raises for the Foreign Ministry staff.
“We are staying open indefinitely,” said Lucas Dear, director of public affairs for the Consulate General of Israel to the Southeast.
However, the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz reported that the workers’ committee representing Foreign Ministry staff is threatening to impose labor sanctions to “head off new budget cuts at the ministry.” This would include the reduction in the salaries paid to Israeli ambassadors.
Reportedly, the Finance Ministry has once again suggested consolidating diplomatic offices in the United States to save on rent and security expenses. Each mission costs between $2.1 million and $4 million a year to run, the newspaper also noted.
So, while the long-term future of Atlanta’s Israeli Consulate is uncertain, Dear told the AJT that Ambassador Judith Varnai Shorer’s post as consul general will end in June 2019 when she will return to Israel. And the incoming Consul, Anat Sultan-Dadon, will arrive to take the post in July 2019.
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