Daily Israel Report

Bible Quiz for Adults is Coming Alive after 30 Years

At Prime Minister's request, the first Bible Quiz for Adults in 29 years will be held this year. International championship to follow.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 3/21/2010, 7:05 PM / Last Update: 3/21/2010, 7:17 PM

The Bible Quiz for Adults, a tradition from the state of Israel's early years, will be revived this year at the initiative of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, whose son Avner won the National Bible Quiz for Youth last week. The Bible Quiz for Adults was first held in Israel in 1958, and was discontinued in 1981.

An International Bible Championship will be held in 2011.

It was former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert who announced, on the occasion of Israel's 60th anniversary, that he would be renewing the Bible Quiz tradition, but this did not work out. Netanyahu, who replaced Olmert, reportedly asked Education Minister Gideon Saar to renew the tradition during a talk they had at last year's quiz for youth. Saar instructed his office to take care of the matter and the quiz's final stage is scheduled to take place in December, during the festival of Chanukah.

The Ministry of Education said that the quiz will lead to a strengthening of the nation's bond to its Jewish sources and to an enrichment of the Hebrew language. It will also revive old Hebrew expressions and idioms that have fallen into disuse, the ministry said.

Bible groom and bride
The quiz is open to all of the nation's citizens aged 18 and up. There will be written tests followed by district championships and national finals. Its winners – a man and a woman, who will be called the 'Bible groom' and 'Bible bride' in accordance with tradition – and their deputies will go on to the International Bible Championship.

Those interested in signing up can do so through the Ministry of Education's website, at telephone 02-5602150 or at fax 02-5603441.

The first Bible Quiz for Adults was held at the country's tenth anniversary, in 1958, and was broadcast live on the radio. Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, a great lover of the Bible, excitedly awarded the title of National Bible Groom to Amos Chacham, a young clerk of meager means. Chacham, who was orphaned of his mother at an early age, grew up in a poor home and suffered from a speech impediment, became a Cinderella-story celebrity and went on to win the International Bible Quiz as well.

The winner of the Second International Bible Quiz (1961) was Rabbi Yichya Alshech, and the third quiz (1964) was won by a Christian Australian accountant, Graham Mitchell. The quiz for adults was discontinued after public interest in it flagged.