Under biblical law, every seventh year the land of Israel is to lie fallow; the fields cannot be worked, and farmers are given
a year’s respite. In the early years of the State, faced with a fragile economy and the prospect of blockades by hostile
neighbours, then Chief Rabbi, Abraham Isaac Kook, ruled that the biblical prohibition, which might have jeopardized the
survival of the fledgling state, could be avoided. His solution: to sell the land to a gentile for the duration of the sabbatical
year to allow cultivation to continue. And so, every seventh year since then, the bizarre sale of the Jewish homeland has
Scratching the Seven Year Itch
A personal reflection on the values of the Sabbatical concept from the Israeli ambassador to the UK, Daniel Taub.