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Sep 18, 2014

no more Hetter Mechira in the IDF

reports have Rav Rafi Peretz, Chief Rabbi of the IDF, having made a decision to order the army to change its fruit and vegetable policy for the coming year.

Next year, 5775, is going to be shmitta, The IDF, along with most of the country, relies on the hetter mechira for its fruits and vegetables. Normally. Not next year.

Out of consideration for the increasing number of Haredi soldiers, Rav Peretz has instructed the IDF to only purchase fruits and vegetables next year from imported produce, and not hetter mechira produce.

That is a great gesture to make for the Haredi soldiers, who will generally not eat hetter mechira produce, but it has upset some people.

Minister of Agriculture Yair Shamir  is upset and has said that for 95% of the nation, and the army being the nation's army, the kashrut of hetter mechira is satisfactory, and the IDF should not give preference to purchasing from either Jordan or non-Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria over hetter mechira produce. As well, the change will cost the country, supposedly, 100 million shekels.

The organization of farmers is also upset about what they call this populist decision and will cause damage to the Israeli agriculture market.

The Defense Ministry rejects the criticism calling it inaccurate. The Defense Ministry says the contract is only for half a year and only for up to 10 (or 30 according to Kipa) million shekels. No final decision has yet been made, but either way produce will only be purchased from Israeli agriculture.
sources: Kipa and Ladaat

I am not sure about that last line - if a decision hasnt been made, how will they buy from Israeli agriculture no matter what, and conversely, if a decision hasnt yet been made how was a contract signed for half a year, and if a decision hasnt yet been made, how are they buying foreign produce only from Israeli farmers?

I like the idea of being accommodating to the soldiers who wont eat hetter mechira, but I dont know why it requires them to change the supply of the entire army, which upsets some people and costs more. Just like in the Haredi army units they supply the soldiers with mehadrin food with hechshers that are acceptable to those soldiers, and not Rabbanut like the rest of the army, so they can also provide those same units with fruits and vegetables that are not hetter mechira. I don't know why this has to affect the entire army.

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  1. Is this post-Zionism at work?

  2. As one who is anti-"heter" mekhirah, AND as a Religious Zionist, I have to say that the IDF is probably the most justifiable place to have this "heter," particularly in time of war, which (you never know) could happen at any time.

    On the other hand, even though I completely disagree with his reasoning, it appears that it sometimes is possible to have influence from within.

  3. according to rav weiss on galei zahal, the amount of arab produce bought will be very limited and only for chareidi soldiers.

  4. Although not everything is grown in the Southern Aravah, I hope that this area, which is patur, will be accessed as much as possible.

    2 Shemitah years ago, I remember seeing some produce from Europe. Not sure from whom it is better to purchase these days, though.

    I remember hearing of crews (from the Eidah, I think) in Jordan, during the last shemitah year, monitoring the harvesting of tomatoes, and various other items. Better then buying from the PA? Maybe. Not sure. In any event, they were there, with Jordanian soldiers for protection.


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