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Dallas Jewish Week

Official counters rumors of consulate's closing

by Tamara Stokes

Special to DJW

Recent rumors that Israel would be closing its Houston consulate caused concern throughout the region served by the office. Houston was one of 10 foreign offices designated for closure within the next few months due to budget cuts, according to the Jerusalem Post and the Associated Press.

Although an official list of closings has not been released, consulate press representative Warren Blumberg told Dallas Jewish Week Friday, the Houston office will not be among those closed.

Mark Briskman, Dallas regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, said, "The United States is the most important ally Israel has. Instead of closing consulate offices, Israel should be expanding the number of consulates here."

Briskman said Israel needs a strong diplomatic presence in Texas. "This is where the ball game is in terms of survival (for Israel). The symbolic impact - of President Bush being from Texas and the 'Western White House' being just up the road from Houston in the little town of Crawford - is huge."

The Houston consulate, established in the early 1960s, serves Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico and Oklahoma. Briskman said Texas Jewish communities are obviously pleased the rumor was inaccurate and the consulate will remain open.

Houston consulate executives are Consul General Zion Evrony, Ph.D., and Consul Dan Shaham. Shaham has visited Dallas recently for the JCC Israel Independence Day Celebration and a presentation on Middle East relations sponsored by the University of North Texas.

The consulate's phone number is (713) 627-3700. More information may be found at emb.org/tx/contact.shtml>.

This story was published in the DallasJewishWeek
on: Thursday, August 1, 2002








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