Recreation in and around Modi'in

Recreation areas

Olive press at Neot Kedumim
Biblical style olive press at Neot Kedumim

One of the most interesting local attractions is Neot Kedumim. which specialises in preserving and studying plants, trees and wildlife of the bible. The reserve is beautiful and a really nice place to go for a day out. During the major Jewish festivals Neot Kedumim has various special events connected with the theme of the festival, and there are other special programmes tied to the seasons year round. People also hire out some of the gardens and biblical style buildings for weddings and other celebrations.

The Modi'in area is home to the Ben Shemen Forest ,including many trails and picnic areas. The Ben Shemen is one of the oldest Jewish National Fund (JNF) reforestation projects in the country, dating from the 1900s. It was originally planted with olive trees to supply raw materials for the nearby Ben Shemen soap factory which made olive oil soap. The olive trees didn't take very well though, and not long after the forest was replanted with other local species such as pines, cypresses and carobs.

Water wheel at Neot Kedumim
Neot Kedumim - Waterwheel
Various musical events are held in the forest amphitheatre over the spring and summer months and during major holidays, including performances by popular Israeli singers, as well as opera and classical concerts. The one day of the year I'd recommend not visiting the forest is Yom Ha'atzma'ut (Israel Independence Day) when every available piece of open space is crowded with families and their barbecues.

The Ben Shemen Forest is also a key tree planting site. People come from all over Israel and the world to plant trees in this area as part of the JNF's reforestation project. Another more unusual feature of the forest is a clearing with an exquisite Thai pagoda. This was a gift from the King of Thailand on Israel's fiftieth birthday to symbolise the warm ties between the two countries.

Close to the Ben Shemen Forest is Park HaKofim - the monkey park, home to a variety of monkeys from around the world and very popular with children.

At the weekend we like to take walks in the area. One of our favourite routes is the Nahal Anaba nature area on the edge of Modi'in. This scrub area is being planted with trees by the Jewish National Fund and there are plans to turn it into a recreation area, though most of it will hopefully be left as a nature area with walking and cycling paths. During the rainiest months of the year there is a small stream which runs through the wadi but which dries up for much of the year, leaving a few scattered ponds here and there which are home to frogs. It's very pleasant to go walking along the patch by the stream, though in the heat of summer the valley can get very hot as there is little shade.

Park Canada
View from Park Canada

In the other direction from Modi'in is Park Canada, another Jewish National Fund forest with wonderful panoramic views of the whole area. This forest tends to be quieter than Ben Shemen, and it has some lovely walking trains, natural springs and some archeological sites.

Next to the village of Shilat is Kfar Hashmonaim (The Hasmonean Village), which as its name suggests is a reconstruction of a village from the Hasmonean period with displays of daily life from the period. The site was set up by Zohar Bar'am and his late wife to teach children through fun activities and authentic surroundings about life in Hasmonean times. Baram, a geographer and tour guide is also a prominent local enviromental activist.

Introduction | Location | Historical sites in the Modi'in region| Modern Modi'in
Population and Employment | Services and Amenities | Modi'in's Neighbours | Recreation Areas
Eating Out | Modiin area birds

Links to my Modi'in nature pages

Copyright 2002 by Leiah Elbaum. Text and photographs on this page are by Leiah Elbaum. Last updated 15 November 2002.

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