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Shemita Debate of 5649 (1889)

In 5638 (1878), the first colony Petah Tikva was established by a group from Jerusalem, who wished to observe the Laws and customs of the Land of Israel. Because of many difficulties the place was abandoned in 5642 (1882). So the residents had not dealt with sabbatical commandment that applies the same year. In the following years the early settlements of Rishon Lezion, Rosh Pina, Zichron Yaacov and Yesod Hamaala were established and Petah Tikva was renewed. The colony Ekron (Mazkeret Batya) was established at the initiative of Baron Rothschild. And the colony Gedera was set up by the Bilu organization. Early settlements in the early years were supported by the existence Lovers of Zion movement and especially by Baron Rothschild.
Prior to the Shemita year 5649 (1889) began discussions on the possibility of the young colonies sabbatical commandment. Hovevy Zion wanted Colonies to contiue to grow and not working the land for a year will fear loss of sales markets. They have sought to find a Halachic solution and contiue to work the land during the seventh year. The Rabbis in Russia were divided over whether to allow the sale of the lad to non-Jews to expropriate the sanctity and allow work as other any year. The Ashkenazi Rabbi's of Jerusalem were opposed for various reasons to the sale permit, they argued that the Baron could support the colonies also the shmita year and it's not a necessity to work. In the end the land was sold  by the court of the Rishon LeZion in Jerusalem. most of the colonies were relying on this permit to work the land.