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Knesset panel to prepare for Shmita year
January 2, 2014 20:36
Knesset Control Committee to review Comptroller report on Shmita, which occurs every 7 years, in order to plan for next one coming in 9 months.
The Knesset.

Knesset 370. (photo credit:Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)

Shmita does not begin for another nine months, but the Knesset is already preparing for the year the land lays fallow according to Jewish law.

On Monday, the Knesset Control Committee is to review a State Comptroller Report on shmita, which occurs once every seven years.

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The last sabbatical year, the state comptroller found that produce imported or grown by Arabs, which is what most ultra-Orthodox eat, cost 66 percent more than what is grown in Israel with a special rabbinic authorization, which is favored by most religious- Zionists.

“There is no justification for such a significant price gap,” Knesset Control Committee chairman Amnon Cohen (Shas) said Thursday.

“We can lower prices and the cost of living.”

The state comptroller found after the last shmita year that budgeting for the period was not sufficient.

The Agriculture Ministry and Religious Services Ministry did not prepare in advance for the next shmita, according to the report. As such, criteria for government support for farmers were only publicized once the year already began, which caused a delay in transferring the funding.

In addition, changes in the Chief Rabbinate’s rulings to favor haredi-authorized produce were not brought to the government for approval, even though they have a different cost.

The comptroller wrote that the government should receive information in advance from the Chief Rabbinate about the costs of shmita.
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