Avner Netanyahu, the 15-year-old son of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara, won the prestigious National Bible Quiz for Youth in Kiryat Shmona on Tuesday evening.

The prime minister flew in from Jerusalem by helicopter, removing himself from duties of state for a couple of hours to watch and, later, to celebrate his son’s accomplishment. The packed audience observed a smiling, proud father in Kiryat Shmona, as the town celebrated its 60th anniversary.

“I didn’t compete to win,” a modest Avner said afterwards. “I just did my best, and really enjoyed it.”

The chief coordinator of the competition, Shlomo Ventura, was not surprised at the result, telling The Jerusalem Post that Avner Netanyahu was “public-school educated, religious, and knows the Bible very well.”

He concluded by wishing Avner and his family a huge “mazel tov!”

Some 12,000 pupils participated in the Bible Quiz championship this year.

Avner Netanyahu, who is in ninth grade at a school near Jerusalem’s Hebrew University, learned Bible from his grandfather, Prof. Benzion Netanyahu, who celebrated his 100th birthday this year.

After winning the Jerusalem district’s semifinals with 98 out of 100 points, Avner Netanyahu was in good stead to win, achieving the best result out of all the competitors despite being the youngest in the finals.

His mother’s side of the family has a history of success in the competition. His mother and his older brother, Yair, are both former contestants, while his three maternal uncles are all former winners: Matanya Ben-Artzi won the national quiz at age 10, Amatzia Ben-Artzi was runner-up in the world competition, and Hagi Ben-Artzi was world champion.

On Tuesday, the Netanyahu family attracted attention before the finals had even begun. The competition’s final question is traditionally asked by the prime minister. However, in this case, to counter possible claims of nepotism, the rules were altered, and Bible Quiz host Jackie Levy asked the deciding question to the anxious young finalists.

The champion of the girls’ Bible Quiz was Or Ashual of the Bnei Akiva Amana Academy in Kfar Saba.

Avner Netanyahu, Ashual and two runners-up will participate in the World Bible Quiz competition, which takes place on Independence Day in Jerusalem.

At last year’s competition, Binyamin Netanyahu took a moment to pay tribute to his father in-law, Shmuel Ben-Artzi.

“Shmuel is one of Israel’s veteran educators and Bible teachers,” the prime minister said. “He has written many books, including ones about Bible quizzes he loved, in which three of his sons participated and won.

“The Bible is the very essence and foundation of the existence and spirit of the Jewish people,” he said. “It is also the single most important, remarkable and moving piece ever written.”

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