Modiin Is No Longer a Bedroom Community

For weeks, my hometown of Modiin has been in the headlines thanks to opposition to judicial reform. Yesterday I took part in the effort to keep the hill in front of our house out of the fray.

By Dov Eilon | | Topics: Judicial Reform
Protest sign outside Justice Minister Yariv Levin's home. "The adversary of the people," is reads. Photo: Jonathan Shaul/Flash90
Protest sign outside Justice Minister Yariv Levin's home. "The adversary of the people," is reads in a play on words with Levin's first name. Photo: Jonathan Shaul/Flash90

My hometown of Modiin is usually considered a very quiet, even boring city for many. It is known as a so-called “bedroom community,” a city where you only spend the night and then go straight back to work in another city the next morning.

Our eldest son also shares this opinion about Modiin. After only six months in their own apartment in Modiin, he and his wife moved back to Tel Aviv, where both also work. He didn’t feel like commuting between Modiin and Tel Aviv. I can understand him, but personally I loved coming back to my quiet Modiin after working in Ramat Gan for the past year. That doesn’t mean that I don’t like Tel Aviv. On the contrary, I love walking through Tel Aviv and feeling this special free atmosphere. But it’s too hectic for me to live there. I need the rest I have here in Modiin.

But that calm has been disrupted for the past 27 weeks, ever since the demonstrations against the controversial judicial reform began. Because, as I reported previously, we live only five houses away from our justice minister, Yariv Levin. Anyone who passes through Modiin today will certainly not see it as a quiet “sleepy town,” because unfortunately the quiet is over.

Several times a week there are planned or spontaneous protests in front of our neighbor’s house. I previously wrote about a particularly violent demonstration at half past five in the morning. Here is a short video that I took from our garden. It shows the difference between the peace I love so much on Shabbat mornings and the noise we now have to endure here:

This has been our Shabbat morning reality in Modiin for the past 27 weeks. And lately it seems to be getting worse. Everyone is talking about Modiin. A few days ago, during another demonstration, I had to show my ID twice to get home on my street. This is the “sleepy city” of Modiin.

From our garden I have a wonderful view of a hill that is part of the so-called “Southern Hills of Modiin,” recently declared a national park. Unfortunately, this hill is now also used by the demonstrators.

“Resist” reads this sign on the hill in front of our house. Photo: Dov Eilon

It doesn’t sit well with me. I don’t care who is demonstrating. And so I wrote a message to the Modiin Municipality via WhatsApp. And after a short time I got a call from a city official. “This is Avi, I’m on your street, where exactly is this sign?” he asked. I was surprised. A little later I was in my yard giving directions to the municipal employee who had climbed the hill to remove the sign. “You have no idea how many signs we’ve found,” Avi casually told me. “But where exactly is this sign now?”

Photos by Dov Eilon

“A little more to the right and then up… yes, exactly!” I said. “Yes we have it, thanks,” Avi replied. Another sign couldn’t be removed, it was behind an electric fence meant to keep the cows that often graze there from getting onto the road. I’ll have to get used to that sign. It probably won’t be long before there will be new signs again, with more or less kind words for our neighbors, such as the huge sign I took as the feature photo above, which was put up a few days ago during a particularly raucous demonstration. The demonstrators cleverly made a play on the justice minister’s first name, Yariv, which in general Hebrew speech means “opponent” or “adversary.”

I miss my quiet city of Modiin. But it will probably be a while before things calm down again. Last night I drove into town with my youngest son to have something to eat. And unfortunately it was anything but quiet there, too.

Demonstration in front of the police station in Modiin. The demonstrators were demanding the release of one who was arrested during a protest.

I can now hear the screams of the demonstrators even when there are no protests. It rings in my ears constantly. This fight has to stop. Otherwise I could also move to Tel Aviv.


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