Israel, Politics, Religion

Shemitah update

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!

5 thoughts on “Shemitah update

  1. I was kinda hoping that the rabbanut would begin to self destruct over this, especially with other rabbis offering to sidestep them. Oh well.

  2. The whole concept of the Supreme Court of Israel convening to decide issues of schmita is ridiculous. If the Rabbinut doesn’t implode, maybe we can at least start to move towards seperation of “church” and state so the government doesn’t have to waste time on this. As if it doesn’t having more pressing matters to worry about …

  3. Real separation of church and state would end the rabbanut as we know it. If they were not a gov’t supported monopoly,
    1) they would be accountable to their communities
    2) people who disagree could opt out more easily

  4. jo – I think tomatoes being $2.5 a kilo (about $5 a pound) is something for the government to worry about. If the government wouldn’t intervene in Kashrut, it may well fall into the hands of the haredi world much faster (like the same way all OU meat is glatt, and they don’t mark “dairy equipment” anymore, or give hichshers to asparagus. Asparagus! I mean, for crying out loud)
    the same goes for rebecca – in this day and age, they might just turn into a conglomerate which, as we all know, are not accountable to anyone (say, like Google, or the CHinese Communist Party).
    I’d rather have the government keep a strong thumb on the rabbanut, thank you. Stronger than it is now, too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.