As every Independence Day, this year saw teen Bible scholars from all over the world come together in Jerusalem to take part in the annual International Bible Contest.
This year, the audience was in for a surprise as Yishai Eisenberg, an American Jew, won the title of International Bible Contest winner together with Elior Babian from Beit Shemesh.
This is the first time in 20 years that a contender from the Diaspora wins the international competition, currently in its jubilee year.
The contest took place at the Jerusalem Theater, in the presence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – who took part in the quiz in asking the traditional Prime Minister's Question – and Education Minister Rabbi Shai Piron.
The prime minister arrived at the event directly after taking part in the Singing Independence event being held at the President's Residence in which he sang the song “Prayer,” with singer Idan Amedi.
PM, education minister with winners (Photo: Kobi Gideon, GPO)
Some 58 teens, from over 26 countries took part in the Bible Contest's various preliminary stages, including representatives from Australia, Bulgaria, Belarus, Brazil, Canada, Germany, South Africa, Holland, Hungary, Uruguay, Italy, England, Estonia, Argentina, Panama, the United States and Mexico.
Quiz participants (Photo: Noam Moskowitz)
There was even a contender from Turkey – represented by Sarah Cohen who took part in the preliminary stages of the competition. They were joined by five representatives from Israel.
Legendary host, Avshalom Kor (Photo: Noam Moskowitz)
Four of the five Israelis in the competition managed to make it into the final jubilee quiz – Elior Babian from the Aley Torah Yeshiva in Beit Shemesh, Liora Braverman from the Darkey Noam girls' seminar in Petah Tikva, Koren Kazus from the De-Shalit High School in Rehovot and Eliran Elisha from the Traditional High School in Jerusalem.
Netnayhau asks Prime Minister's Question (Photo: Noam Moskowitz)
They were joined in the finals by four Jews from Canada, three from the US, three from Mexico, one representative from Panama and one from South Africa.
Two of the Israelis – Braverman and Babian – succeeded in attaining the maximum 60 points up for grabs during the quiz's early stages, but were unexpectedly matched by the victor of the diaspora's competition – the New Jersey resident, Yishai Eisenberg.
At the end of the race, Babian and Eisenberg were tied and the judges decided to end the competition and grant them both the first prize.
Eisenberg, a student of the Yeshiva Beit Hillel near Yeshiva University, led throughout the competition, and even the final question failed to break his tie with Babian - leading both to win the title together.
Last year the competition was won by Elhanan Bloch from Netivot.