"HaModi'a: The Haredi Newspaper"
HaModi'a is a daily Haredi newspaper established on the 18th of Elul, 5710 (1950), by Yitzhak Meir Levin, the president of the World Agudath Israel.
A Legacy of Haredi Journalism:
HaModi'a holds the distinction of being the oldest Haredi newspaper in Israel and serves as the official mouthpiece of the Agudath Israel party. The newspaper's name is a tribute to an earlier publication, also named "HaModi'a," which appeared from 1910 to 1915 in Poltava, edited by Rabbi Eliyahu Akiva Rabinowitz.
Since its inception, the newspaper has been under the ownership of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah, the supreme council of Agudath Israel, the worldwide organization representing Orthodox Jewry. At the outset, Yehuda Leib Levin, the son of Rabbi Levin, served as the chief editor. Today, HaModi'a is edited by Israel Schneider and Yitzhak Mattityahu Tennboim.
In 1958, Levin and his son appointed Chaim Moshe Knopf to serve as the newspaper's administrative manager, alongside editors Moshe Akiva Druk and Yisrael Shpigl. Financial challenges led to its transformation into a corporation, with 49% of it being sold to the newspaper's employees.
After the passing of the first editor, it was decided to appoint Knopf, Druk, and Shpigl as co-chief editors, representing the three main centers of power within Agudath Israel at the time.
Over the years, Shpigl became a representative of Rabbi Schach's camp, while Druk, known for his loyalty to Menachem Porush, passed away. Knopf, a Gur Hasid, remained as both editor and sole manager. As time went on, Knopf appointed his son Elazar as the deputy CEO and, eventually, as the CEO.
A Voice of Gur Hasidism:
HaModi'a has often been perceived as associated with the Gur Hasidic dynasty due to its editorial leadership by Gur Hasidim. Similar allegations of bias led to the establishment of a competing Haredi newspaper, Hamavasser, in 2009.
In 2014, HaModi'a encountered financial difficulties, leading to attempts to sell the newspaper. Ultimately, it was sold to the newspaper's CEO, Elazar Knopf, who was a member of the Gur Hasidic community, and his son-in-law, businessman Chaim Schachter.
Both are associated with Gur Hasidism. In July 2019, Knopf was removed from his position due to improper management, following a report from the Registrar of Associations, which demanded this as a condition for the association's continued existence.
Slogan and Editorial Oversight:
The newspaper's slogan is "The Daily Newspaper of the Haredi Judaism." It is guided by a council of rabbis.
International Editions and Impact:
In addition to its main Hebrew edition, HaModi'a also publishes an English-language weekly edition, referred to as HaModi'a International, which has been in circulation since the 1980s.
Three weekly editions in English are distributed in Israel, the United Kingdom, and Australia. The editor of HaModi'a International since its founding is Ruth Lichtenstein, the granddaughter of the founder of the original HaModi'a in Israel and the daughter of the first editor.
There is also a French edition of the newspaper, catering to the French-speaking Haredi community in France and Israel. The newspaper is distributed through the Bar Shaiwitz Marketing and Distribution company.
Challenges and Legal Proceedings:
In August 2020, the Registrar of Associations filed a request for the dissolution of the association that operates the newspaper due to serious irregularities in its management.
Distribution and Reach:
According to a TGI survey from 2016, HaModi'a has an exposure rate of 16.3% among the Haredi population in mid-week newspapers and 16.2% for weekend editions, indicating its significant presence and readership within the Haredi community in Israel.