ISRAEL WILL keep its Philadelphia consulate after all.

Mayor Nutter yesterday received a letter from Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman saying that the country will continue to maintain the office, at 19th Street and JFK Boulevard, despite rumors that it was on the chopping block.

"It would have hurt - just the civic pride, if nothing else - but really the service provided by the Consul General's Office is also critically important," Nutter said. "It was a happy moment."

Yaron Sideman, Israel's consul to the Mid-Atlantic, delivered the letter to Nutter at a Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia board meeting.

Israel has consulates in New York City and Washington, D.C. It was rumored that the country would close the Philadelphia office to make room in its budget for a new one in China.

While on a trade mission to Israel last month, Nutter met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres, and urged both men to maintain the office. Philadelphia-area U.S. House members and both Pennsylvania senators had also called on Israel to keep the office open.

On Twitter: @SeanWalshDN

Blog: ph.ly/PhillyClout