(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.
Monday, the Knesset Control Committee is to review a State Comptroller Report on
shmita, which occurs once every seven years.
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-
“There is no justification for such a significant price gap,”
Knesset Control Committee chairman Amnon Cohen (Shas) said Thursday.
can lower prices and the cost of living.”
The state comptroller found
after the last shmita year that budgeting for the period was not
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.
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
The comptroller wrote that the government should receive
information in advance from the Chief Rabbinate about the costs of shmita.