Yahadut Hatorah MK Uri Maklev sent a letter to the Ministry of Transportation regarding ongoing construction to improve Highway 1. Maklev visited the construction area with the professionals on the site, including Ministry Director-General Uzi Yitzchaki and project manager Angie David Landsman. A decision was made to halt all panting immediately until a meeting of the experts takes place, a meeting that includes halachic, engineering and construction experts.
The ministry has decided to halt all planting until after shmitah year and pending the meeting of the experts, which will also include representatives of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel.
In the past two months, coinciding with the progress on the new roadway in the direction to the capital, planting began alongside the roadway. Yahadut Hatorah MK Moshe Gafne turned to Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz while Maklev contacted the director-general of the ministry, Yitzchaki, explaining the issues vis-à-vis shmitah. The ministry officials apologized and were quick and willing to cooperate and the order was given immediately to halt the laying of irrigation lines and breaking ground for plantings.
However, of late, the MKs received updates from motorists who explained it appeared to them that planting was taking place. The MKs once again contacted officials and visited the site in question. It was determined that work that is prohibited on shmitah was done. The office of Chief Rabbi Dovid Lau Shlita was notified. The decision was made to halt work pending the meeting of the experts mentioned above.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)