Ramat Modi'im or Hashmonaim ?
Ramat Modi'im (a national religious urban settlement - yishuv) is situated 3 kilometers away from the Shilat intersection and the city of Modi'in, and 2 kilometers from Kiryat Sefer (for maps press here).
The cornerstone ceremony for the yishuv was held on Dec. 4, 1983, followed by the beginning of work on the infrastructure. The cornerstone ceremony for the first houses in the yishuv was held on June 12, 1984, attended by Prime Minister Yitzchak Shamir, Chief Sefardi Rabbi HaRav Mordechai Eliyahu, and many dignitaries, including Arab leaders from the area.
During August 1987, the first 10 families came to live in the yishuv. These pioneers lived under difficult conditions, without electricity (connected during June-July 1988), telephone service (connected in June 1989), or paved roads. It must be noted that the yishuv was founded as a private enterprise (by advocates Shmuel Appel and David Zeira), and all the infrastructure of the yishuv was paid for by the local residents, without government support.
On July 7, 1988, Hashmonaim was proclaimed as a yishuv, turning Ramat Modi'im into a legal neighbourhood of Hashmonaim, which then comprised of 2 neighbourhoods: Ramat Modi'im, and Ganei Modi'in. (Ganei Modi'in, first settled during 1985, is located north west of Ramat Modi'im, and is defined as an ultra orthodox yishuv). Hashmonaim is under the auspices of the Mateh Binyamin regional council.
Starting in 1989, Hashmonaim was managed by a local council appointed by the government. In November 1989 the residents of Ramat Modi'im elected a residents' council, in order to monitor the activities of the appointed council. Following an appeal to the high court of Israel, the first elected council, for both neighbourhoods, started to function in March 1993.
In may 1996, following a request by most of the residents of Ganei Modi'in, it was separated from Hashmonaim, and annexed to the Modi'in Ilit local council, which includes the ultra orthodox city of Kiryat Sefer. Since then, "Hashmonaim" refers only to the neighbourhood of Ramat Modi'im.
This causes numerous misunderstandings, since Ganei Modi'in can be entered only through Ramat Modi'im, and their mail address remained "Hashmonaim". (The mail distribution for both neighbourhoods is in Ramat Modi'im, with a formal address Hashmonaim). The press also mistakenly refers to Ganei Modi'in as Hashmonaim.
Recently (2003), the powers that be in Kiryat Sefer asked to divest themselves of Ganei Modi'n, and a suggestion was brought to rejoin it with Ramat Modi'im. This caused objections in both neighbourhoods. Following a hearing, the relevant committee suggested that Ganei Modi'in become part of the Mateh Binyamin regional council, without joining the 2 neighbourhoods. (For the committee's full report in Hebrew, pages 153-164, press here).
It must be noted that Ganei Modi'in does not maintain its own security, and the costs are all covered by the residents of Ramat Modi'im.
The Ramat Modi'im population (about 2400) is comprised of all the ethnic Jewish groups (Ashkenazi, Sefardi, Yemenite). The average age of the adults (21 or older) is 45. Recently, many young couples have moved in, many of whom are 2nd generation residents. About 50% of the residents are new immigrants (10 years or less in Israel), and 45% of the residents are immigrants from North America. Most of the people are professionals (doctors, lawyers, hi-tech, commerce, etc.).
The yishuv has 9 synagogues, 5 kindergardens, a national religious school, a yeshiva high school, a youth building, a Bnei Akiva branch (in prefab buildings, permanent building in the planning), office of the local council, 2 basketball courts, a baseball field (the yishuv has several baseball teams who have won many awards), playgrounds for the younger children, and a library (in a prefab building)
It does NOT have a mikveh (under construction), a daycare center, recreational facilities, indoor sports facilities, nor does it have a pool.
During 1993, following an appeal to the high courts, HaRav Itamar Orbach was elected to be the Rav of the Yishuv. (Up until now, his salary is mostly funded by the local council.)
The yishuv is exemplified by mutual aid among the members, especially for new immigrants, on joyous occasions, as well as on less happy events. This is also felt in the large number of benevolent lending funds in the yishuv.
Recently, we have started to see a new spate of development in the yishuv (sidewalks, street lights, trees, etc.) again at the expense of the residents, and the development of the entrance to the yishuv (an old debt by the developers).
For statistics, press here.