US sells ambassador to Israel's residence

Sale of official ambassador's residence finalized in latest step in transfer of embassy to Jerusalem. Identity of buyer still unknown.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

US ambassador's residence
US ambassador's residence
Photo: GPO

The US State Department has recently selected the buyer for the sale of the former Chief of Mission Residence in Herzliya, Israel. The move is another step in the transfer of the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and will make it more difficult for a future US administration to reverse the transfer.

The State Department did not specify who had purchased the property, but stated that bthe buyer was selected solely on the basis of having submitted the highest and best offer. The selected buyer and the unsuccessful bidders have been notified. The Embassy will vacate the Chief of Mission Residence in Spring of 2021. There are no plans or agreements to continue leasing or renting the property for the use of Ambassador Friedman or for other government use once possession is delivered to the purchaser in the Spring of 2021. The short-term lease of the property between the closing date and the Spring of 2021 allows for an orderly transition period to remove and safeguard government property.

Following the announcement of the move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, the Department undertook a review of both existing and available diplomatic property in Israel to determine the best alignment to support the U.S. Mission. In response to that review, planning for the sale of the former U.S. Ambassador’s residence in Tel Aviv began in 2019 with marketing of the property beginning in January of 2020.

The 11,000-square-foot villa likely will be demolished and a new home built on the desirable property, which the United States purchased in 1962. The estate was built in the 1960s.

The asking price for the property was 300 million shekels, or $87 million, which limited the pool of potential buyers.

Billionaire businessman Sheldon Adelson, a leading Israel advocate, was reportedly one of the bidders who sought to purchase the property.