WHEN Israel's ambassador to Australia, Yuval Rotem, returns home this week he will take a small part of this country with him.
Golden retriever Bailey, probably the most heavily guarded dog in Canberra but far from a guard dog, will still travel with the family.
''It will be her first time in the Holy Land,'' Rotem says.
Rotem, a career diplomat, finishes his six-year Australian posting on Thursday and has never been short on guards.
The fourth-longest serving head of mission in Canberra, a position he will give up when he leaves, has constantly had an Australian Federal Police car parked outside his home and, like all Israeli ambassadors, has his own bodyguards.
While his colleagues were targeted by botched terrorist attacks across the world, his term here was not punctuated by violence towards him.
When Rotem arrived here, he became the first Israeli ambassador to Australia to bring his children into the Yarralumla compound that has both an embassy and residence. At the time, he was the only ambassador in Yarralumla with children.
''They've developed Aussie accents and they're using slang now,'' he says.
Children soon moved into the US, Irish, Belgian and Polish embassies as well as the European Commission to Australia.
''I think it's a very important sign for this country [Australia],'' Rotem says. ''The age of ambassadors is an indication of a bigger role Australia plays.
''When a country becomes a place for diplomats before they retire, it shows the place has little to offer but the moment you see a wave of young diplomats - with energy and motivation - you know it has a role to play.''
Rotem says Australia's rising importance as a diplomatic destination is because of increased business links between the two countries and not solely because of our place on the G20 or the United Nations Security Council.
He points to Israeli company Elbit Systems, which won a contract worth well over $100 million to modernise the Australian Federal Police's information management system.
Rotem leaves Australia on a high. He came to this country as Labor took power and, while supportive of Israel, Labor was not as good for Israel as the Coalition will be, if first impressions are any indication.
In the words of one writer for The Jerusalem Post, Australia's federal election was a battle of the good friends of Israel versus the very good friends of Israel.
''And, with the victory of Tony Abbott's Liberal-National Coalition over Kevin Rudd's Labor Party, the very good friends won this time around,'' wrote the Post's Herb Keinon.
According to reports, Abbott plans to make it easier for Israelis to get Australian visas and the new government already went on the record leading up to the election saying it would make it harder for organisations running boycott, divestments and sanctions campaigns against Israel to receive government funding.
In particular, this could mean funding for the University of Sydney's Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies - which has reportedly received more than $150,000 in federal government funds in recent years - is reduced or withdrawn.
Centre director Jake Lynch is concerned he might miss out on funding because of his views.
''I would expect my applications for research grants, on unrelated topics, to be considered on the same basis as those from any other academic,'' Lynch says.
''I should not be penalised or damaged in my profession simply because my opinions on the Israel-Palestine conflict do not coincide with those of members of the government … I fully understand that I can expect no government funding to publicise the academic boycott of Israel and I have never received, nor spent any.''
He says Israel's military checkpoints violate Palestinian human rights and labels Israel's attacks on Gaza as war crimes. The centre he oversees refused Hebrew University of Jerusalem academic Dan Avnon's proposed fellowship with the university under an academic exchange program.
Rotem insists stripping organisations, such as the one run by Lynch, of government funding is about the correct use of public money and not about censorship.
''I also have a problem intellectually with BDS, which creates an unusual marriage between extreme left-wingers and the most extreme muslims who are anti-gay, anti-women and non-inclusive,'' he says.
The Abbott government's stronger stance in favour of Israel comes after rocky decisions late in Labor's reign.
Almost a year ago, then prime minister Julia Gillard was forced to back down from her personal position to vote against a resolution at the UN giving Palestine observer status. Australia eventually abstained from the vote even though Gillard apparently wanted to side with Israel and the US.
Later, then foreign affairs minister Bob Carr came under fire for saying all Israeli settlements on Palestinian land were illegal.
Not to be forgotten from Rotem's time here are the occasions Israel came under fire, such as the time a Mossad kill squad was found using fake Australian passports to do their dirty work.
Then there was the case of Ben Zygier, an Australian-Israeli citizen known as Prisoner X linked to spy activities who died in custody in Israel in 2010, a tragedy Rotem says ''we all need to draw lessons from''.
Despite the controversies, there have been highlights, such as when Gillard made Raoul Wallenberg, who saved thousands of Jews in World War II, an honorary Australian citizen.
But Rotem's most memorable moment was in 2008 when Rudd moved a motion to celebrate Israel's 60th anniversary, a moment watched by Holocaust survivors.
Rotem, who will not rule out a political career, will be replaced by Shmuel Ben-Shmuel, who arrives in mid-October.
Ben-Shmuel has served as deputy consul general of the Israeli consulate in New York and has also been head of the World Jewish Affairs and Inter-Religious Affairs Bureau of the Foreign Affairs Ministry.
He served in the 1973 Yom Kippur War and the Lebanese War and joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1981.