Modi'in Illit
Modi'in Illit is a Haredi
Haredi Judaism
Haredi or Charedi/Chareidi Judaism is the most conservative form of Orthodox Judaism, often referred to as ultra-Orthodox. A follower of Haredi Judaism is called a Haredi ....

 Israeli settlement
Israeli settlement
An Israeli settlement is a Jewish civilian community built on land that was captured by Israel from Jordan, Egypt, and Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War and is considered occupied territory by the international community. Such settlements currently exist in the West Bank...

 and a city in the West Bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

, situated midway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv , officially Tel Aviv-Yafo , is the second most populous city in Israel, with a population of 404,400 on a land area of . The city is located on the Israeli Mediterranean coastline in west-central Israel. It is the largest and most populous city in the metropolitan area of Gush Dan, with...

. Modi'in Illit was granted city status by the Israeli government
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 in 2008. It is located six kilometres northeast of Modi'in-Maccabim-Re'ut
Modi'in-Maccabim-Re'ut is a city in the Center District of Israel located approximately halfway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. It was formed in 2003 by the merger of Modi'in and Maccabim-Re'ut...

 and is often referred to as Kiryat Sefer (lit. "Book Town"), the name of its first neighborhood, established in 1994. Modi'in Illit encompasses the neighborhoods of Kiryat Sefer and Achuzat Brachfeld (Brachfeld Estates). As of December 2009, it had a total population of 46,200, making it the largest Jewish community in the area. The international community considers Israeli settlements illegal under international law
International law and Israeli settlements
The international community considers the establishment of Israeli settlements in the Israeli-occupied territories illegal under international law, but Israel maintains that they are consistent with international law because it does not agree that the Fourth Geneva Convention applies to the...

, but the Israeli government disputes this.
The Israeli government believes that Modi'in Illit would remain within Israeli jurisdiction in a final-status agreement with the Palestinians.


Kiryat Sefer is mentioned in the Book of Judges
Book of Judges
The Book of Judges is the seventh book of the Hebrew bible and the Christian Old Testament. Its title describes its contents: it contains the history of Biblical judges, divinely inspired prophets whose direct knowledge of Yahweh allows them to act as decision-makers for the Israelites, as...

, allegedly destroyed by the Romans
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 in the first century, rebuilt, and destroyed again in the second century in the Bar Kokhba revolt. The barrier surrounding the city divides the nearby village of Bil'in
Bil'in is a Palestinian village located in the Ramallah and al-Bireh Governorate, west of the city of Ramallah in the central West Bank. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, Bil'in has a population of 1,800, mostly Muslims.-History:...

. The homes in Kiryat Sefer were completed in 1994, and the local council of Modi'in Illit was given city status on March 7, 2008.

In keeping with its name, which means "Book Town," each of Kiryat Sefer's streets is named after a landmark sefer
Sefer (Hebrew)
Sefer in simple Hebrew is a word that means any kind of "book" It is derived from the same Hebrew root-word as sofer , sifriyah and safrut ....

(book) written by Gedolei Yisrael
Gadol or godol גדול , is a Hebrew term used mostly by Haredi Litvish Jews to refer to the most revered rabbis of their generation. These rabbis are usually held in high esteem by other Haredi or Orthodox Jews, though not necessarily to the same degree as by Litvish Jews...

. These include: Chofetz Chaim
Yisrael Meir Kagan
Yisrael Meir Poupko , known popularly as The Chofetz Chaim, was an influential Eastern European rabbi, Halakhist, posek, and ethicist whose works continue to be widely influential in Jewish life...

, Noda BiYehuda
Yechezkel Landau
Yechezkel ben Yehuda Landau was an influential authority in halakha . He is best known for the work Noda Biyhudah , by which title he is also known.-Biography:...

, Meshech Chochma
Meir Simcha of Dvinsk
Meir Simcha of Dvinsk was a rabbi and prominent leader of Orthodox Judaism in Eastern Europe in the early 20th century. He was a kohen, and is therefore often referred to as Meir Simcha ha-Kohen...

, Avnei Nezer
Avrohom Bornsztain
Avrohom Bornsztain , also spelled Avraham Borenstein or Bernstein, was a leading posek in late-nineteenth-century Europe and founder and first Rebbe of the Sochatchover Hasidic dynasty. He is known as the Avnei Nezer after the title of his posthumously-published set of Torah responsa...

and Sdei Chemed
Chaim Hezekiah Medini
Chaim Hezekiah Medini, , also known by the title of his chief halakhic work, Sdei Chemed- was a rabbinical scholar during the nineteenth century. His name was originally Hezekiah, Chaim, "life", was added during a period of serious illness...


Geography and climate

Situated north of Modi'in, Modi'in Illit lies 2.3 kilometres (1.4 mi) from the 1967 Green Line
Green Line (Israel)
Green Line refers to the demarcation lines set out in the 1949 Armistice Agreements between Israel and its neighbours after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War...

, and 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) from the 443 highway. Located in the foothills of the Judean Mountains
Judean Mountains
The Judaean Mountains, ;, also Judaean Hills and Hebron Hills is a mountain range in Israel and the West Bank where Jerusalem and several other biblical cities are located. The mountains reach a height of 1,000 m.-Geography:...

 286 meters (938 feet) above sea level, Modi'in Illit has mild winters and hot, dry summers with temperatures averaging 30 °C (86 °F) during the day. Modi'in Illit's immediate neighbors are moshav
Moshav is a type of Israeli town or settlement, in particular a type of cooperative agricultural community of individual farms pioneered by the Labour Zionists during the second aliyah...

Matityahu, Mateh Binyamin
Matityahu is a moshav and Israeli settlement in the West Bank, located approximately midway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, near the city of Modi'in. Matityahu was initially founded in 1981 by a group of English-speaking immigrants from the United States and elsewhere, and it is now home to a...

 and Hashmonaim
Hashmonaim is an Israeli settlement in the Binyamin Region, in the northern section of the West Bank. The settlement located off Route 443, and on Route 446, which connects between Modi'in and Ariel. Less than a kilometer East of Hashmonaim, is the major Haredi settelment, Modi'in Illit , the...



According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics
Israel Central Bureau of Statistics
The Israel Central Bureau of Statistics , abbreviated CBS, is an Israeli government office established in 1949 to carry out research and publish statistical data on all aspects of Israeli life, including population, society, economy, industry, education and physical infrastructure.It is headed by a...

 (CBS), as of the end of 2009, the city had a total population of 46,200, making it the largest Israeli settlement in the West Bank. The city had an annual growth rate of 13.2 percent in 2009, due to new home construction and natural population growth. An estimated 80 percent of the population is under age 30, and in 2006 the city's median age stood at 10, the lowest of all Israeli municipalities. There are many immigrants, mostly from England, France, Switzerland and the United States. The entire population of Modi'in Illit are observant Jews. Most residents are Ashkenazi Jews
Ashkenazi Jews
Ashkenazi Jews, also known as Ashkenazic Jews or Ashkenazim , are the Jews descended from the medieval Jewish communities along the Rhine in Germany from Alsace in the south to the Rhineland in the north. Ashkenaz is the medieval Hebrew name for this region and thus for Germany...

 in the Lithuanian tradition, but there are also Sephardi
Sephardi Jews
Sephardi Jews is a general term referring to the descendants of the Jews who lived in the Iberian Peninsula before their expulsion in the Spanish Inquisition. It can also refer to those who use a Sephardic style of liturgy or would otherwise define themselves in terms of the Jewish customs and...

Age distribution
Age0 - 45 - 910 - 1415 - 1920 - 2930 - 4445 - 5960 - 6465 - 7475+
Percentage 28.8 19.4 8.6 4.8 19.4 14 3.3 0.6 0.7 0.4
Source: Israel Central Bureau of Statistics
Israel Central Bureau of Statistics
The Israel Central Bureau of Statistics , abbreviated CBS, is an Israeli government office established in 1949 to carry out research and publish statistical data on all aspects of Israeli life, including population, society, economy, industry, education and physical infrastructure.It is headed by a...


Modi'in Illit has 30 elementary schools and 20 secondary schools (seminaries and yeshivas). Achuzat Brachfeld (Brachfeld Estates) is home to a branch of the famous Mir Yeshiva
Mir yeshiva (Jerusalem)
The Mir yeshiva , known as the Mirrer Yeshiva or The Mir, is an Orthodox Jewish yeshiva in Jerusalem, Israel. With 6,000 students, it is the largest yeshiva in Israel. Many of the students are from the United States and Canada. It is also believed to be the largest yeshiva in the world...


The city is home to many commercial enterprises. Because of its sizable English-speaking immigrant population, it has become a center for high-quality outsourcing
Outsourcing is the process of contracting a business function to someone else.-Overview:The term outsourcing is used inconsistently but usually involves the contracting out of a business function - commonly one previously performed in-house - to an external provider...

 by American companies. There are approximately 80 synagogue
A synagogue is a Jewish house of prayer. This use of the Greek term synagogue originates in the Septuagint where it sometimes translates the Hebrew word for assembly, kahal...

s. A significant number of men study the Torah full time.

Local politics

Yaakov Gutterman, a rabbi, is the town's mayor. The first head of council
Local council (Israel)
Local councils are one of the three types of local government found in Israel, with the other two being cities and regional councils. As of 2003, there were 144 local councils in Israel, these being settlements which pass a minimum threshold enough to justify their operations as independent...

 of Modi'in Illit was Yosef Schwinger, appointed by the Ministry of the Interior. Yaakov Gutterman replaced him in 2002, and has been reinstated twice when he ran for election uncontested.

Legal status of the settlement

The international community considers Israeli settlements to violate the Fourth Geneva Convention
Fourth Geneva Convention
The Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, commonly referred to as the Fourth Geneva Convention and abbreviated as GCIV, is one of the four treaties of the Geneva Conventions. It was adopted in August 1949, and defines humanitarian protections for civilians...

's prohibition on the transfer of an occupying power's civilian population into occupied territory and are as such illegal under customary international law
Customary international law
Customary international law are those aspects of international law that derive from custom. Along with general principles of law and treaties, custom is considered by the International Court of Justice, jurists, the United Nations, and its member states to be among the primary sources of...

. Israel disputes that the Fourth Geneva Convention applies to the Palestinian territories as they had not been legally held by a sovereign prior to Israel taking control of them. This view has been rejected by the International Court of Justice
International Court of Justice
The International Court of Justice is the primary judicial organ of the United Nations. It is based in the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands...

 and the International Committee of the Red Cross
International Committee of the Red Cross
The International Committee of the Red Cross is a private humanitarian institution based in Geneva, Switzerland. States parties to the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols of 1977 and 2005, have given the ICRC a mandate to protect the victims of international and...


Modi'in Illit was granted city status in 2008, by Aluf
Aluf is the term used for General and Admiral in the Israel Defense Forces . In addition to the Aluf rank itself, there are four other ranks which are derivatives of the word...

 Gadi Shamni
Gadi Shamni
Aluf Gadi Shamni is a general in the Israel Defense Forces and current Israel's military attaché in the United States.In 1977 Shamni was drafted into the Paratroopers Brigade, which he stayed in for much of his early career. In 2001 he was promoted to Brigadier General and in 2005 to Major General...

. The Israeli NGO B'Tselem
B'Tselem is an Israeli non-governmental organization . It calls itself "The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories"...

 appealed the decision to the Ministry of Interior. B'Tselem claimed that the upgrading of Modi'in Illit's status to that of a municipality was of concern because the land on which Mod'in Illit was built was declared state land through a manipulative application of Ottoman Law
The Mecelle code was the civil code of the Ottoman Empire in the late 19th and early 20th centuries...

, resulting in the confiscation of lands belonging to neighbouring Palestinian
Palestinian people
The Palestinian people, also referred to as Palestinians or Palestinian Arabs , are an Arabic-speaking people with origins in Palestine. Despite various wars and exoduses, roughly one third of the world's Palestinian population continues to reside in the area encompassing the West Bank, the Gaza...

 villages. B'Tselem also stated that the upgraded status would lead to an increase of the settler population of Modi'in Illit, and thus the change in status would be illegal. For these reasons, B'Tselem expressed "vehement opposition" to the change of status. In connection with separate allegations that the city has allowed illegal construction to take place, the Israel Defence Forces told Israel's Interior Ministry in May 2008 that Modi'in Illit was "in a state of lawlessness."

Israel's West Bank Barrier passes just east of Modi'in Illit. The barrier's section in this area was built to separate the Modi'in bloc settlements of Mattityahu, Modi'in Illit and Hashmona'im from the Palestinian villages of Bil'in and others. It is the site of weekly protests by Palestinian villagers and their supporters against the construction of the wall and against the settlement. These protests often involve rock throwing by the Palestinians, and the firing of tear gas and rubber-coated bullets by Israeli security forces, which in one case led to death of a protester when a tear gas grenade hit him in the chest. The IDF said that there was no intention to fire the tear gas grenade directly at any protesters.

Attacks on residents

On Monday morning, December 29, 2008 around 8 am, an Arab worker fixing a heating system on a 6th story apartment on Rebbi Yehuda HaNasi Street in Ahuzat Brachfeld struck his supervisor with a sledgehammer to his head. The attacker then proceeded to the street and attacked several passersby, stabbing several of them. After he managed to stab four Jews and beat up several others, he was shot and seriously wounded by an emergency response team member.

External links

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