This ancient city, known in Biblical times as Yabniel, is most famous as the seat of the Sanhedrin at the time of the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash. One of the three requests made by Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai on the eve of that destruction was “spare me Yavneh and its Sages” (Gittin 56b). This center of Jewish learning is referred to as “Kerem B’Yavneh” (Vineyard of Yavneh) because its scholars sat in rows similar to the arrangement of vines in a vineyard (Rashi, Berachot 63b).
“Follow Rabbi Gamliel to Yavneh” urge our Sages (Sanhedrin 32b), and this is where this great head of the Sanhedrin is assumed to be buried.
Modern Yavneh is a development town populated mostly by immigrants from North Africa, and nearby is Israel’s first atomic reactor, which was completed in 1960.