IDF provides haredi soldiers with veggies grown by Gazans

Vast majority of IDF soldiers will eat fruits and veggies provided by Jewish farmers according to a halachic loophole.

October 15, 2007 22:13
1 minute read.
IDF provides haredi soldiers with veggies grown by Gazans

vegetables 88. (photo credit: )

During the shmita [Sabbatical] year the IDF will accommodate the stringent kashrut demands of about 2,000 Nahal Haredi soldiers by providing fruits and vegetables grown by Arab Israelis and Palestinians, including those living in Gaza, Judea and Samaria. The vast majority of IDF soldiers, who do not adhere to haredi standards of kashrut, will eat fruits and vegetables provided by Jewish farmers according to a halachic loophole called heter mechira [permitted sale] in which farmers' land is "sold" to a non-Jew for the duration of the shmita year. Many Jews actually refuse to buy fruits and vegetables from Israeli Arabs and Palestinians out of a desire to strengthen Jewish labor. Others are concerned that the proceeds from the sale of the produce will be used to fund terrorism. However, haredim reject heter mechira as a halachic option and are careful to eat only fruits and vegetables that are grown by non-Jewish farmers in land that does not belong to Jews. The first shipment of vegetables under the supervision of Rabbi Yosef Yekutiel Efrati, who is closely associated with Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, the most important halachic authority of Lithuanian Ashkenazi Jewry, will be delivered on Chanukah, which begins December 5. In addition to the Nahal Haredi, who are all located on one base in the Jordan Valley, other soldiers who wish to adhere to haredi standards of kashrut will also be accommodated. Once every few days these soldiers will receive a special package of "mehadrin" fruits and vegetables. However, these soldiers will not have access to cooked Mehadrin vegetables.

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