GRAPEVINE: Diplomatic exodus?

A new quarter will be created in Jerusalem for the establishment of embassies that will relocate to the capital.


An almond tree blossoms in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem neighborhood. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

CONSTRUCTION MINISTER Yoav Galant says that he has instructed senior officials in his ministry to find a new quarter in Jerusalem for the establishment of embassies that will relocate to the capital.

There are close to 90 resident ambassadors in the country, though Israel has diplomatic relations with many more countries. But even moving 90 embassies and residences takes quite a lot of doing.

The overwhelming majority of diplomatic residences are located in Herzliya Pituah, Kfar Shmaryahu and Ramat Gan. The Korean residence is in Rishon Lezion, and the Polish residence is in Udim, and a handful of ambassadors have moved their residences from Herzliya Pituah to Tel Aviv. Most ambassadorial residences are rented, but a not an insignificant number have for decades been owned by foreign countries.

While Galant is thinking of areas such as Ein Kerem, he is not ruling out Mevaseret Zion and Neveh Ilan, which are not within the boundaries of Jerusalem.

Politically, this is actually a good idea, especially for countries that are members of the European Union, because it enables them to follow EU policy while simultaneously being close enough to Jerusalem to be part of the closely knit diplomatic community.

However, if Galant is looking for land in Jerusalem proper, there is a lot of vacant land between the Har Hotzvim Technology Park and Ramot.
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