Saving Israeli Farmers During Shmitta Year

Project in memory of soldier killed during the summer's Gaza war seeks to ease the financial burden on farmers during Sabbatical year.

Moran Shirazi,

Guy's soldiers in the south
Guy's soldiers in the south
Mishelet Israel

Mishelet Israel is a great way to help Israel’s farmers and soldiers. Founded by Guy and David Saban, the Mishelet Israel Project was set up in order to help their community to keep the mitzvah of “Shmita” and to raise money to help Israel’s combat soldiers.

David is currently serving in the IDF and Guy completed his service as a combat soldier in the summer of 2014. They have both seen the need for financial support for frontline combat units which are often lacking basic facilities, making life difficult and uncomfortable for the soldiers who serve the Jewish State. Guy has already raised over $3000 to help his unit.

The Saban family came from Tunisia in 1947 and bought 80 dunams of land in Moshav Sharsheret, located in the South of Israel near Netivot and Sderot. They are proud that they have kept the mitzvah of Shmita every seven years and hope to continue to do so, despite the financial hardships involved.

After the Shmita year ends, Guy plans to farm his parents’ share of his family’s land. This year he has dedicated himself to raising money to help fund equipment and facilities for his army comrades and to support his farming community through the Mishelet Israel Project. He is also fundraising for a memorial to his friend, Golani Brigade Staff Sergeant Oren Noach, who was killed in Gaza during the Tzuk Eitan operation.

The seventh year of the agricultural cycle is a sabbatical year in Israel, called Shmita. During the Shmita year the land lies fallow and unfarmed. This means that the farmers owning the land have no income from selling produce grown on the land. One way of getting round this problem is for the Jewish farmer to sell or rent their land to a non-Jew, but the Saban family prefers to share the mitzvah with Jewish people

Mishelet would like to invite Jewish people all over the world to buy a plot of farming land in Israel during the Shmita year. By spreading the financial burden of Shmita to all Jewish people, everyone benefits.

The Project involves a real legal purchase of a plot of land in Moshav Sharsheret, carried out through lawyers. The buyer appoints Mishelet Israel as his trustee to buy land for him in Moshav Sharsheret that the buyer specifies, and the land is purchased in his name. The buyer receives a certificate and photograph of the land to confirm his ownership of the land for the remainder of the Shmita year. During the Shmita year, the specified land in Moshav Sharsheret is left unfarmed. At the end of the Shmita year, the land reverts to its original owners.

“Farms in the South of Israel were badly affected by rocket fire from Gaza during the summer of 2014. Many of them have to repair greenhouses and irrigation systems before they can farm their land,” explained Guy Saban. “During the Shmita year, many are keeping the mitzvah of leaving their land unfarmed, which leaves their family without income. The Mishelet Israel Project will generate income from the sale of plots of land for the farmers who own the land, enabling them to feed their families.”

Mishelet also liaises with individual IDF combat units and with the Lemaan HaChayal organization and donates proceeds of their activities to aid soldiers. “We have provided food packages, warm fleece jackets, and screens for them to watch football games! Families on Moshav Sharsheret often host soldiers from local bases for Shabbat and festival meals – during the Shmita year we will be subsidizing the costs of this hospitality,” explains Guy.

To be a part of this wonderful initiative, visit www.misheletisrael.com and choose how much Israeli land you want to buy.

Guy's friend Mishelet Israel



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