Care of the Forests Continues Even in a Sabbatical Year 758x530.
(photo credit: KKL-JNF)
KKL-JNF has adapted its activities to the shmita laws. Accordingly, there will be no planting during the coming year, not even on Tu BiShvat. Accompanied by forester Hagay Yavlovich, we went out to see how the forests would be affected by the shmita year.
Every seven years, the People of Israel are commanded to cease their agricultural activities and let the land lie fallow. Forester Hagay Yavlovich
, who is also the Director of KKL-JNF’s Seeds and Nurseries Division, explained to us what the approaching sabbatical year
would mean for KKL–JNF's work in the forests: “We won’t be able to carry out tasks designed to improve the trees, only jobs intended to prevent their being damaged and ensure their continued existence,” he said. “Pruning and thinning of KKL-JNF forests will continue as normal, as these activities are intended to protect the trees against fires and pests. We can also gather seeds
for germination the following year. We can’t prune the trees in order to improve their appearance, but as we are not gardeners or landscapers, this is not something we would normally do in any case.”
Yavlovich reminded us that there is one exception to the prohibition against planting during a fallow year: the security plantings
that are designed to conceal residents of the Gaza Periphery
, its communities and its main highways from the eyes of those who fire rockets from within the Gaza Strip. As this type of planting is intended to save lives, special permission has been granted to continue with it even during the shmita year.
According to forester Yavlovich, the sabbatical year strengthens the connection between the people and their land. “Suspending work in the fields reminds us that the land is the personal property of no one, and that it is our duty to conserve it and respect nature,” he explained.
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