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Israeli agricultural Sabbath offers Gazan farmers hope

Although Israel imposed economic restrictions on agricultural exports from the Gaza Strip in 2007, Shmita offers Gazan farmers an opportunity to export vegetables to Israel, as the Israeli land is left to rest.
A Palestinian laborer stacks tomato crates at a farm in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, March 12, 2015.

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Palestinian farmers harvest cucumbers in the southern Gaza Strip in the early morning hours. Islam al-Nuweiri, a Gazan farmer and merchant, will export them to Israel, where the Israeli authorities allowed, for the first time in February, the import of new types of vegetables from Gaza to meet the Israeli market’s needs during Shmita, the Sabbath year.

Every seven years, during the year of Shmita, observant Jews refrain from eating vegetables and fruits that are sowed and harvested in their own lands. Instead, they are permitted to eat crops from non-Jewish land. Jewish law prohibits farming, planting, plowing, pruning and harvesting during Shmita, which started on Sept. 7, 2021. 

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