Here at Jewschool, we’ve been reporting on the machinations regarding the shemitah year in Israel. As you may have heard, the rabbanut went through with the heter mechirah (sale of the land of Israel to non-Jews, permitting the use of its produce) as usual, but in a half-assed way, allowing local rabbinical councils to set their own policies, so that local rabbinates could decide not to accept the heter mechirah and to deny kashrut certification to stores and restaurants that relied on it. The case has been pending before the Supreme Court for almost 2 months. In the meantime, here in Jerusalem, though the Jerusalem Rabbinate has not accepted the heter mechirah, a number of businesses have gotten around this by getting their kashrut certification from the nearby Mateh Yehuda Regional Council.
Today, the Supreme Court invalidated this decision of the Chief Rabbinate. The heter mechirah is once again the law of the land, and “the Chief Rabbinate must override any council rabbi that refuses to grant the sales permit and appoint in his [or her*] place a rabbi that would allow the loophole.”
This may be a much-needed smackdown to the Chief Rabbinate, or (unfortunately) this decision may help save the Chief Rabbinate from itself.
* Just kidding!