12:10 GMT +320 January 2019
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    Israel to Close 7 Diplomatic Missions Abroad, Including in US, Canada - Reports

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Israeli government passed Friday its 2019 budget, which envisages financial cuts to the Foreign Ministry and the closure of at least seven diplomatic missions abroad, including those in the United States and Canada, the Haaretz newspaper reported.

    According to the newspaper, Israel currently operates nine missions in the United States and three missions in Canada. The annual operating costs of each location are reportedly anywhere from $3.4 million to $4.4 million.

    Other Israeli missions under threat are in Brazil, Turkey and Germany, while some diplomatic staff cuts may affect Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, the publication said.

    The decision was made after the Finance Ministry has suggested earlier this week to gradually close down 22 of its 103 diplomatic missions worldwide.

    Sources familiar with the situation told the media outlet that the money saved would be used for defense and real estate expenses.

    READ MORE: More Embassy Relocations on Horizon? Israel 'in Contact With 10 Countries'

    The move was made a month after US President Donald Trump announced his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and instructed the US State Department to move the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. 

    Later on, Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel was negotiating with "several countries" the transfer of their embassies to Jerusalem, but did not name the countries.


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