Education, Diaspora ministers decline to condemn Bible Contest remarks

Dr. Avshalom Kor said of one of the international contestants who had a rather sombre expression on their face “What does he have to smile about, he lives in exile.”

Dr. Avshalom Kor (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Dr. Avshalom Kor
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Education Minister Rafi Peretz and Diaspora Affairs Minister Tzipi Hotovely declined to criticize the host of the International Bible Quiz for youth, Dr. Avshalom Kor, for comments he made disparaging life outside of Israel for Diaspora Jews.
Kor, a longtime host of the competition which is held under the auspices of the Education Ministry, described Jews living outside of Israel as living “in exile,” a phrase which is not well looked upon by many Jews living outside of the Jewish state.
In addition, Kor said of one of the international contestants who had a rather sombre expression on his face: “What does he have to smile about? He lives in exile.”
Regarding a delay in the video connection with another contestant abroad, Kor said “everything goes slower in the exile, not like here.”
The Ruderman Family Foundation which works to bridge gaps between Israel and the Jewish world, described Kor’s remarks as “hurtful and dismissive to Jews living in the Diaspora.”
In a letter addressed to Peretz, foundation president Jay Ruderman and executive director Shira Ruderman accused Kor of using the quiz platform “to speak in a condescending manner to the teenagers representing different [Jewish] communities from around the world.”
The foundation called on Peretz to distance himself from Kor’s comments and to make clear that they “do not reflect the position of the Education Ministry” or his own personal opinion.
“It is rhetoric like that which distances Israelis from Jews around the world rather than bringing them closer together. These statements are not only offensive to the participants and their families, but also to the millions of Jews who celebrated Israel's 72nd Independence Day, out of love of the land, the country and the people,” said the foundation.
Both Peretz and Hotovely declined to comment when asked for a response to Kor’s remarks by The Jerusalem Post.