Modi'in

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article Share Article
views updated

MODI'IN

MODI'IN (Heb. מוֹדִיעִים ,מוֹדִיעִין, or Modi'im), town or village in the toparchy of Lydda, the family home of Mattathias the Maccabean and of his Hasmonean descendants; here the Maccabean revolt broke out (i Macc. 2:1, 15, 23; cf. Jos., Ant. 12–13). Nothing much is said in the sources about the place, its size and situation. Although the rebels were soon forced to evacuate the village, they were able to bury their dead there (i Macc. 2:70, 9:18–21, 13:25–30). Simeon the Hasmonean eventually built a splendid mausoleum at Modi'in, which was adorned with seven pyramids and high columns with sculptures of ships that were said to be visible from the sea (i Macc. 13:25–30; Jos., Ant. 13:210–11). In the time of Jonathan, Modi'in passed into Jewish possession with the rest of the toparchy of Lydda. An important battle was undertaken against the Seleucid Kendebaois from a camp situated close to Modi'in. Judas Maccabaeus is mentioned as having marched out of Modi'in in order to fight Seleucid forces sent against him by Antiochus v (ii Macc. 13:14ff.), suggesting that the town was unfortified (but some historians, notably Longstaff, have cast doubt on the veracity of this story). John and Judah, the sons of Simeon, camped close to Modi'in before the battle of Kidron (i Macc. 16:4). In the Mishnah, it is described as a town on the border of Judah (Pes. 9:2; Ḥag. 3:5). It was the home town of R. Eleazar of Modi'in, a close relative of Bar Kokhba and perhaps identical with Eleazar the high priest, who appears on coins of the Second Jewish War. R. *Eleazar was put to death in 135 c.e. on grounds of treason. Another teacher associated with Modi'in is Rabbi Yossi, but details regarding this person and his teachings are sparse. In the Onomasticon (132:16) of *Eusebius Pamphili (c. 260–339 c.e.) and on the Madaba mosaic map (mid-sixth century), it is located east of Lydda. The whereabouts of Modi'in the village/town and burial-place of the Maccabean family is a subject that has intrigued pilgrims and travelers since the 12th century when the Crusaders identified it at the site of Belmont, next to present-day kibbutz Ẓova, west of Jerusalem, a mistake that was maintained until the 19th century by visitors to the region. E. Robinson (1852), however, suggested that Modi'in should be identified at Latrun on the grounds of its position and elevation. In the mid-19th century, considerable efforts were made by scholars (notably E. Forner, Ch. Sandreckzi, V. Guérin, C.R. Conder and Ch. Clermont-Ganneau) to identify Modi'in at Khirbet el-Midya and Sheikh al-Gharbāwī, about 7½ mi. (12 km.) east of Lydda in the northern Shephelah, but the famous "Tombs of the Maccabees" seen there today are mostly of Byzantine date. During an archaeological project conducted by S. Gibson and E. Lass in the area of the modern city of Modi'in from 1995 to 1999, a proposal was put forward to identify ancient Modi'in at Horvat Titora (Khirbet el-Burj) as a result of the finds made there from the Iron Age, Hellenistic and Early Roman periods, including large numbers of subterranean hideaways from the Bar Kokhba period. More recently, Khirbet Umm el-'Umdan, which is the site of an Early-Roman period village with a public building (perhaps a synagogue), excavated by S. Weksler-Bdolach and A. Onn, has also been proposed as the site of Modi'in. To sum up: unless an inscription were to be found at one of these sites, the exact location of Modi'in will apparently always remain a mystery.

[Michael Avi-Yonah /

Shimon Gibson (2nd ed.)]

Modi'im and Modi'im Region

In the Israel *War of Independence, the area west of the Naḥal Modi'im gorge was occupied by Israel forces in July 1948, while the village al-Midya remained beyond the 1949 armistice line in Jordanian territory. In the 1950s and 1960s, the Herzl Forest of *Ben Shemen was gradually enlarged eastward to become the Modi'im Forest, and an observation tower and amphitheater were built there. In 1964, the Modi'im region development project was started, providing for further afforestation and land reclamation; the area's northern section was set aside as an ultimate reserve for the expansion of the Tel Aviv conurbation, with plans laid out for the construction of a future city to be named Makkabit. In 1965, a *Naḥal outpost settlement, Mevo Modi'im (מְבוֹא מוֹדִיעִים), was established less than a mile (1 km.) from the armistice line by a group affiliated with *Po'alei Agudat Israel. After the *Six-Day War, these settlers moved southeastward to set up a new village in the Aijalon Valley, at the foot of the *Beth-Ḥoron ascent, while the site of Mevo Modi'im, which has poor and rocky soil, was earmarked for a village to be based on industry and a Po'alei Agudat Israel seminary. Forest planting continued after 1967 on both sides of the former armistice line, carried out in the west by Jewish laborers and in the east by Arabs.

[Efraim Orni]

The City of Modi'in

The modern city of Modi'in was officially established in 1993 in a ceremony attended by late Prime Minister Yitzḥak Rabin. Plans for the city were drawn up in the mid-1980s by the architect Moshe *Safdie and approved in the beginning of the 1990s by Ariel *Sharon, then minister of housing. In 1996 the first residents moved in and its rapid expansion earned it city status in 2001. It is located in a former army firing zone between the Judean Plain and the Jerusalem Hills, midway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. The city's convenient location has served to attract residents from both the Jerusalem and Tel Aviv areas. Its jurisdiction extends over 18 sq. mi. (46 sq. km.), 50% of which are green areas.

In 2003 the municipality was united with *Makkabim-Re'ut. The population of Modi'in at the time was 34,700 while Makkabim-Re'ut had 10,700 residents. The population was well educated, with 60% holding academic degrees, and the majority were young families with an average of two children. Most residents commuted to work but an industrial park was planned for the outskirts of the city.

[Shaked Gilboa (2nd ed.)]

bibliography:

Guérin, in: pefqs, 2 (1870), 390; F.M. Abel, Les Livres des Maceabées (1949); idem, in: rb, 32 (1923), 496ff.; Beyer, in: zdpv, 56 (1933), 223. add. bibliography: A. Negev and S. Gibson (eds.), Archaeological Encyclopedia of the Holy Land (2001), 341, s.v. "Modi'in"; S. Weksler-Bdolach, A. Onn and Y. Rapuano, "Identifying the Hasmonean Village of Modi'in," in: Cathedra (2003), 69–86.