Sale of US ambassador’s residence in Israel is finalized


(JTA) — Going, going, gone: The sale of the official residence of the U.S. ambassador to Israel has been finalized.

Neither the buyer’s name nor the amount paid for the Herzliya property, about 8 miles from Tel Aviv in central Israel, were made public in the U.S. Embassy’s statement announcing the sale.

“The buyer was selected solely on the basis of having submitted the highest and best offer,” the statement said.

According to the statement, the embassy will vacate the property by the spring. There are no plans to continue leasing or renting the property for use by the current ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, or for any other government use once the title is transferred.

Reports in the Israeli media late last month said that billionaire businessman Sheldon Adelson was in advanced talks to buy the property, which was put up for sale in January. The asking price was 300 million shekels, or $87 million.

Adelson offered the highest bid, The Jerusalem Post reported Tuesday, and there were two lower offers.

The sale of the property, which was convenient to the embassy when it was located in Tel Aviv, is another signal that the embassy move to Jerusalem won’t be easily reversed.

Globes reported last month that the Trump administration wanted to complete the deal before the November elections “to emphasize that the transfer of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is a ‘fait accompli.'”

According to the statement issued by the embassy: “Following the announcement of the move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, the (State) 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.”

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