Israeli Bureaucracy Leaps High Hurdles for Embassy Move

Israel embassy
Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Before the U.S. embassy moves from Tel Aviv to temporary quarters in Yerushalayim in May, a number of security and bureaucratic hurdles will have to be cleared away.

Topmost among them is a nine-and-a-half foot high wall to be erected around the perimeter of the site to meet special security requirements, according to Globes on Wednesday.

Senior U.S. State Department officials notified Israel of other needs, as well. In a letter from Ministry of Foreign Affairs director general Yuval Rotem to Minister of Finance Moshe Kahlon, Rotem wrote:

“As part of this, a 3.2-meter [9.5-foot] wall covered with Jerusalem stone must be built surrounding the site. An escape road must be paved from the southern parking lot of the Diplomat Hotel along the western edge of the Mordot Arnona neighborhood to the intersection of Leib Yaffe Street and Asher Weiner Street,” Globes quoted the letter as saying.

A zoning problem arose when officials became aware that the area isn’t zoned for such a high wall. In a country notorious for its bureaucratic red tape, a zoning issue that might have delayed any other construction for an indeterminate period looked like it was on the way to a speedy resolution for the sake of bilateral relations:

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon responded with an enthusiasm uncharacteristic of any bureaucracy:

“I am delighted, both as finance minister and as [the official] responsible for planning in the State of Israel, to sign today a recommendation to the [National] Council [for Planning and Construction] to issue an exemption from an infrastructures construction permit in order to enable the American embassy to move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, our eternal capital. Good luck, and [do it] as quickly as possible!” he said in Hebrew.

In a follow-up tweet, Kahlon addressed U.S. President Donald Trump in English:

“President Trump, I’m happy to inform you that we are moving forward with the preparations, making sure that no bureaucracy slows down the process of moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.”