Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

20 Av 5768 - August 21, 2008 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Public Protests Landscaping Work Along Jerusalem-Tel Aviv Highway

By Yechiel Sever

Public protests continue in response to the trampling of Shmittah laws underfoot through extensive planting at the Daniel Interchange along the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv Highway.

MK Rabbi Uri Maklev sent an urgent letter to Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz and the board of Derech Eretz demanding an immediate halt to the landscaping work. In response he was informed that the work is not under the responsibility of the Transportation Ministry or Derech Eretz.

In his letter to Derech Eretz, Rabbi Maklev wrote, "I would like to draw your attention to the fact that along Highway 1 at the Daniel Interchange drivers report vegetation is being planted. Obviously this type of gardening work is strictly prohibited during the Shmittah year. Not only does this planting work offend a large segment of the public, both religious and traditional Jews, but carrying it out also blatantly tramples the mitzvah of Shmittah, which is very severe."

At the end of his letter MK Maklev demands that the CEO of the company order a halt to the work, saying that in the future a change should definitely be instituted. "I urge you to issue instructions to stop this work immediately and to see to it that the mitzvah of Shmittah is not tread on in public view."

Rabbi Maklev's office staff says everyone denies responsibility. The Transportation Ministry claims the work is being executed by a private franchise-holder while Derech Eretz insists it is not in charge of the area in question. A letter the company sent to Rabbi Maklev reads, "Derech Eretz, which operates Highway 6, would like to make clear that it is not executing the planting work along Highway 1 at the Daniel Interchange and never was involved in this work. Furthermore the work reported is not taking place in an area under Derech Eretz's charge. Derech Eretz strictly observes the laws of Shmittah and therefore postponed planting until after the conclusion of the Shmittah year."

Rabbi Maklev's staff says an in-depth inquiry will be conducted in the field to locate those responsible for the work and to bring it to a halt.


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