INN is reporting, that the Chief Rabbinate of Israel recently announced that it will do everything possible to avoid giving farmers a “heter mechira” for the upcoming Shmitah year. The heter mechira allows the farms to keep running after the land is sold to a non-Jew for the year.
The Rabbinate announced that in the upcoming Shmitah year, a heter mechira will only be given in urgent cases, such as damage to the national Kashruth levels or the impoverishment of Jewish farmers. The heter will only be given to farmers who can prove legal ownership of their land, and who can prove that a non-Jew will perform all forbidden labor.
While some do not rely on the heter mechira, others prefer it to the common alternative of buying produce from Arabs.