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Sep 23, 2014

Hetter Mechira through the first Ger Toshav in 2500 years

Last week the Rabbanut announced it had performed the hetter mechira of State lands in advance of the onset of the shemita year. The lands were sold to a non-Jew from the Ukraine, living in Israel, named George Streichman.

Interestingly, there is more to the story...

Chief Rabbi Dovid Lau presided over a beis din in which, for the first time in supposedly 2500 years, granted official status upon Streichman as "Ger Toshav".

Streichman is the grandson of a Jew, but he himself is not a Jew. Streichman moved to Israel unde the Law of Return, due to his grandfather being Jewish. Streichman is a "ben noach" - he is a non-Jew that believes in the God of Israel, and was therefore chosen to be the buyer of Israel's land for the hetter mechira.

This move was meant to further mitigate any problems of "lo techaneim" in the process of the hetter mechira. Not only was the buyer not a non-Jew of the "idol worshiping religion", i.e. a Christian, but he is a ben noach, and a ger toshav to boot.

The process of the sale went down as such:
the farmers participating in having their lands sold transferred ownership rights to the Chief Rabbinate. The Chief Rabbinate transferred ownership rights to the Israel Lands Authority. The director of the Lands Authority, Bentzi Lieberman, then sold all the lands, the State lands and the relevant farms, to Streichman.
source: NRG

Those who oppose the hetter mechira by ideology won't change their opinion because of this, but it is clear that even more improvements have been introduced to the process to make it more and more reliable.

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