The argument over the hetter hamechirah has aroused an
outcry among the representatives of the kibbutzim, especially
among Meretz politicians. The outcry focuses on the "affront
to the value of agriculture."
However, that same week, the media aired an interview which
dealt with an affair that is not linked to the issue of
shmita, but which casts light on the hypocrisy of the
"defenders of agriculture."
The mayor of Kiryat Shmoneh, Chaim Barbibai was interviewed
in the wake of the occurrences in the south, where tension
increased between the kibbutzim and the Shderot
At a demonstration, Shderot's mayor, Eli Moyal said that
Shderot would go to war against the arrogant kibbutzim who
treat the residents of Shderot as water carriers. The mayor
of Kiryat Shmone was asked if in the north there is also
tension which is liable to burst out one bright day.
Chaim Barbibai replied: "To my great dismay, if the situation
continues, I assume that in the north there will be a bigger
outburst than the one which occurred in Shderot."
He said that the argument would grow more heated, especially
given the fact that the kibbutzim are holding State lands
"Let us take Kiryat Shmoneh, which exhausted its lands,"
Barbibai said. "Now we are trying to build a bit. Only now
have we restored the ruins from a security point of view.
Today we are trying to bring residents back from the center
of the country to Kiryat Shmoneh, and we have no possibility
to build homes, because there isn't a piece of available
land, and the lands today are owned by a very small sector of
the populace. Three percent of the populace in the country
holds 97% of the lands."
Barbibai claimed that the kibbutzim which surround Kiryat
Shmoneh, have long ago forgotten the farming vision, but
insist on holding the lands due to their financial value.
"The lands were given to kibbutzim in order to work them.
What is happening now is that agriculture barely exists. All
of the kibbutzim are planning to set up private neighborhoods
within the kibbutzim. That means drawing the stronger people
from Kiryat Shmoneh into the kibbutzim.
"But the result will be that only those who have no choice
will remain in Kiryat Shmoneh, and the provocation will come
for them. That's the whole story," he said "The kibbutzim
have to transfer the lands to Kiryat Shmoneh. Are those lands
theirs? No one in the state can get lands as a gift. The
lands are in the possession of the kibbutzim, and it is time
that they returned them."
In the name of "agriculture" the kibbutzim seek to become
rich, and to accrue real estate, even when the agriculture
barely exists on many kibbutzim. For them, the "banner of
agriculture" has become a means for amassing large sums of
money, and for the incitement against the halocho and
those who observe shmita.