The IDF's guide: a Torah scroll
The IDF's guide: a Torah scrollIsrael News Photo: (file)

"The IDF sees the Bible as a guide in the deep and practical sense of the word,” IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi said Wednesday in a meeting with participants in the International Bible Quiz for Youth. “It is no accident that the IDF swears in its soldiers with a weapon in one hand and the Bible in the other – a custom that reflects the uniqueness of the IDF and the deep bond of the Jewish people to the Book of Books,” he added.

The 46 competitors in the Bible Quiz hail from twenty different countries. They met Lt.-Gen. Ashkenazi at Beit HeChayal in Jerusalem, in the presence of the IDF's Chief Education Officer, Brig.-Gen. Eli Shermeister, Chief Military rabbi Brig.-Gen. Avichai Ronsky and members of the World Management of the Bible Quiz.

The 47th annual World Bible Quiz for Youth is being held with the aid of the Jewish Agency. Its theme this year will be “Hebrew Comes Alive,” to honor the 150 yea birthday of Zionist visionary Binyamin Ze'ev Herzl and 120 years since the establishment of the Council for the Hebrew Language. The quiz will take place on Independence Day, April 20, the Ninth of Iyyar.

The contestants – all of whom won the Bible Quizzes in their respective countries – have been taking part in an 18-day preparatory camp which includes volunteer activity, hikes through Biblical sites, a visit to Yad VaShem and gun training in the Gadna Youth Corps base. Four of the 46 participants are the Israeli quiz's finalists, one of whom is the Prime Minister's son, Avner Netanyahu.