November 30, 2021

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US moving services from Tel Aviv embassy to Jerusalem consulate

Varda forwarded to me a message that a friend of hers received from the US Social Security Administration last week:

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has consolidated its overseas operations into several regional offices that provide a full range of SSA services for U.S. citizens residing outside of the United States. Effective this Sunday (October 1, 2017), individuals residing in Israel who require social security services or have questions about SSA benefits must contact the SSA Federal Benefits Unit (FBU) located at the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem, rather than the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv or the U.S. Consular Agency in Haifa.

Among the most common Social Security services that the Embassy and the Consular Agency can no longer provide is the acceptance of the SS-5 (Application for a Social Security Card) associated with Consular Report of Birth Abroad applications; applicants will need to submit those directly to the Federal Benefits Unit in Jerusalem. Individuals of any age seeking to apply for a first-time or replacement Social Security card will also need to submit their applications directly to the Federal Benefits Unit in Jerusalem.

Please, be advised that as of this Sunday (October 1, 2017) the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv and the U.S. Consular Agency in Haifa can no longer accept telephone calls, emails, or walk-in consultations regarding Social Security issues, including inquiries from individuals seeking to determine whether they have ever been issued a Social Security number.

For more information or any questions about the services provided at the Federal benefits Unit in Jerusalem and how to contact them, please visit their webpage at: You can also reach them at

 Why would the US move some of its services from its embassy in Tel Aviv to a consulate in Jerusalem only?

This news directly contradicts how the US Consulate webpage describes its historic functions:

The American Citizen Services Unit of U.S. Consulate General Jerusalem provides information and assistance to U.S. citizens in Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza.  U.S. citizens visiting or residing outside these areas are served by the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv.

Could this be a subtle move by David Friedman to move some of the embassy functions from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem?

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