The International Bible Quiz for Youth had a special result in its jubilee year
on Tuesday when two contestants were declared joint winners for the first time
in the tournament’s history.
It was also the first time in 20 years that
an international competitor was crowned champion.
Yishai Eisenberg, 15,
from New Jersey and Elior Babian, 16, from Beit Shemesh were declared
inseparable in the depth of their knowledge of the Hebrew Bible and crowned
joint winners and recipients of the coveted prize, which includes scholarships
for educational programs in Israel.
Competitors were narrowed down in
earlier rounds from 58 to 16; they came from 26 countries and their ages ranged
from 12 up through 18.
The International Bible Quiz for Youth for the
Hebrew year 5773 was organized by the IDF chief education officer, the IDF
Rabbinate, the Defense and Education ministries, the Jewish Agency and the Keren
Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund.
Speaking at the event, Education
Minister Shai Piron said that the institution of the Bible quiz, which is held
annually at the President’s Residence on Independence Day, illustrated the
desire to connect Jewish independence to Jewish values.
competition, young students become immersed in the words of the prophets and are
thus exposed to the essence of the masterpiece that we are trying to build here
in the State of Israel,” Piron said.
At the end of the final round, in
which both Eisenberg and Babian answered 12 questions correctly, presiding judge
of the event Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein deliberated with the fellow judges
and unanimously declared two winners of the competition.
somewhat overwhelmed by his victory while Babian said to win the competition was
extremely exciting and satisfying.
“Torah study satisfies the soul,” he
said. “For sure I would have liked to be the outright winner, but this is what
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was on hand to present the
“Your love and expertise in the Bible is amazing,” Netanyahu said.
“It really lifts the heart to see youth from Israel and abroad who delve so
completely into our Book of Books.”
The prime minister also spoke about
US President Barack Obama’s recent visit and how he had been shown the Dead Sea
Scrolls, the oldest known texts of some of the books of the Bible.
showed him the Book of Isaiah and I said to him, ‘This is our book and of the
entire world,’” Netanyahu said.
“I showed him the verse, ‘And you shall
beat your swords into plowshares....’ This [is] a universal message but was
written here in this land by our fathers who always prayed to return to this
land and build from anew our national life.
“Our faith and our hope is
the Bible and we will not forget this for a moment,” the prime minister