Rabbi David Lau in the field
Rabbi David Lau in the fieldOffice of the Rabbinate

Concerns have recently been raised that the development of the highway connecting Jerusalem and Tel Aviv may lead to Halakhic (Jewish legal) issues given the restrictions of Shemittah, the agricultural sabbatical.

In order to address questions regarding the uprooting of trees and gardening work at the periphery of the roads, Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi David Lau went out to the work site, where he got a close-up first-hand picture of the issues presented by the unique situation.

Accompanying the chief rabbi was Uzi Yitzhaki, Director-General of the Ministry of Transportation and Road Safety, as well as senior representatives from the Netivei Israel company and managers of the highway project.

During the meeting, those representing the project clarified that during the Shemittah year no gardening activities are being conducted for aesthetic purposes.

They added that gardening for safety reasons, such as planting seedlings meant to prevent soil erosion and the collapse of interchanges and bridges, will only be executed after coordination Rabbi Lau, and after various alternative solutions have been investigated.

It was also agreed that the development centers and infrastructures that Netivei Israel will lay down in the next Shemittah year will be coordinated with the Chief Rabbinate from the early stages of planning and publishing tenders, so that all the work will be prepared in advance to be in accordance with the laws of Shemittah.