Relocation of Ambassadors and Members of the Diplomatic Corps
Diplomats are important public diplomacy officers, who represent their country in foreign countries around the globe. Their work is an ongoing mission and is dedicated to achievements measured in small steps towards larger goals. Members of the diplomatic corps are often required to relocate to another country depending on their activities and the functions they fulfill. The duration of a relocation covers a period of several years in order to allow a diplomat to establish a personal relationship with members of the diplomatic corps and the continuity of his work and projects.
Enrollment into the diplomatic service requires personal sacrifice as the diplomat and his family are separated from their native country, extended families, close circle of friends and community, as well as the comfort of their familiar surroundings. This intense emotional process is not easy for any diplomat, whether a junior or senior diplomat and the entire family.
Relocation of members of diplomatic corps and ambassadors to Israel holds special challenges: the local language is Hebrew which is unlike any other “Western” language and the Hebrew characters are written from right to the left. Judaism and its religious holidays are all celebrated and even the day of rest, the “Sabbath”, is practiced differently from the rest of the world – on Saturdays and not on Sundays. There are many cultural differences and lifestyles between Israeli and foreign society.
Israelis are compared to a “Tzabar” (prickly cactus pear) and it takes “savoir faire” how deal with them, as the outside is rough and prickly but the inside is sweet and soft.
The search for a suitable residence for ambassadors and diplomats posted to Israel is meticulously conducted by their embassies in Israel, seeking simultaneously to maintaining a standard of living and enabling the smooth functioning of a posting, as well as his and his family’s wellbeing. Diplomats may bring the contents of their homes to Israel (furniture and personal effects), these provide the comfort feelings of a familiar home environment. So for residences of diplomats, we are looking for unfurnished houses or apartments, and sometimes even without electrical appliances.
Being a professional realtor, I make sure to get the full details of the relocating family, e.g. the number of family members, ages of children and in which schools to register them, the environment preferred by the family, special requests and, of course, the budget.
The ambassador’s or senior diplomat’s residence in Israel should be an impressive building with a presence on the street and in the neighborhood. It is important that passersby will see the flag of the country and its symbol embedded in the gate.
The official residence of the diplomat should be suitable for hosting receptions and since the weather in Israel is sunny and pleasant for most of the year, one should find a house with a beautiful lawn or well-tended gardens for parties, and around the swimming pool, if the budget allows. Lit gardens at night will add ambiance; a kitchenette for refreshments in the garden will be a boon or even the kitchen providing easy access to food and refreshments. There is also a preference that the main kitchen should be closed off and separate from the living room and formal dining room. The portico and the exterior front doorway should be of a high quality finish and the foyer within, spacious and impressive.
The number of bedrooms should be equal to the number of family members, it would be an advantage to have extra bedrooms for guests or family members who visit for extended periods. The bedrooms should be good-sized with furniture from Europe as these are heavy and the beds wide. Bedrooms should also be provided for the housekeeper and the nanny, if the children are still young.
Safety and security of the house is matter of primary importance not only outside but inside, e.g. stairs and railings should be secure; a balcony must have a guard rail; electricity and gas appliances as well as electrical and communications equipment should meet the local standards.
The residence of an ambassador or diplomat to Israel is based on suitable long-term rentals because the period of their tenure is, as mentioned before, for long periods, therefore the house must be in excellent condition and the landlord attentive to tenants.
Relocating to the right property should give a diplomat a feeling of home, even when he is away from home.