A front page advertisement in The Jerusalem Post on Sunday advertised the current Ambassadorial residence of the British Embassy as being for sale.

The prestigious 2,860 sq.m. Ramat Gan property, with its huge garden and swimming pool, has been home to a long series of British ambassadors for periods of two years and upwards – but current ambassador Matthew Gould will be the last British ambassador to live there.

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“It’s a beautiful house,” he told the Post, “but access and parking are difficult.”

The house at 2 Simtat Hama’alot is on the corner of a small side street opposite the water tower on one side and accessible by a steep staircase from the main road on the other side.

Guests invited to large-scale events like the Queen’s birthday, often had to park their cars several streets away because there was simply no room.

Moreover British ambassadors lived in a kind of splendid isolation.

There is a small island of ambassadorial residences in another part of Ramat Gan, but none of the British Ambassador’s immediate neighbors are ambassadors or even low-ranking diplomats.

Minorities, whether religious, ethnic or even professional, like to live close to each other, and most ambassadorial residences in Israel are located in Herzliya Pituah and Kfar Shmaryahu which are in close proximity to each other.

Gould has his eye on Kfar Shmaryahu, where many of the houses would give him far greater scope for indoor entertaining than he has in the current residence, where the public rooms are somewhat small, and where theater- style, sit-down functions have been rather cramped.

Some very famous people have been guests at the British residence, but this is not likely to be a selling point with any real estate developer, whose first thought will be to assess how many apartments he can build on the land. Quite a lot actually, if he gets a permit.

But it would be a pity to tear down such a stately old house that also boasts a genuine fireplace.

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