Two winners emerged from the 2024 International Bible Contest for youth, which takes place annually on Israel's Independence Day.

Evyatar Bar-Gil, an eleventh-grader at the Ort Pelech High School in Jerusalem, and David Shasha, a twelfth-grader at the Amit Yeshiva in Kfar Ganim, Petah Tikva, tied for first place in the contest.

In second place is Dov Gotthelf of the US, and in third, Noa Rivka Kahn, from Israel.

חתני התנ"ך העולמי: אביתר בר-גיל ודוד שאשא
חתני התנ"ך העולמי: אביתר בר-גיל ודוד שאשאצילום: רונן חורש לע"מ

The other contestants were Yahav Noach Atlas, Israel; Noa Saubel of Britain; Penina Crystal, from the US; Yosef Samson of Canada; Noach Greenblatt of South Africa; Aviv Sharon of Canada; Mickey Sirolnik from the US; Sara Harari of Panama; Ezra Goldberg of Canada; Emmanuela Millman from the US; David Abadi of Mexico; and Yoni Cady of Australia.

At the start of the contest, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, "On Simchat Torah we endured an event on a Biblical scale. Our enemies attacked us, exactly on the day when the people of Israel celebrate the continuity of study from Genesis and back again."

"This is not new. The Tanakh (Bible -ed.) teaches that even thousands of years ago we knew wars. Our forefather Avraham, our teacher Moses, Joshua, the Judges, King David and his son King Solomon – they all fought bitter enemies.

"Even then we did not surrender to them. Even then we did not bow our heads. The prophet Micah says: 'Though I have fallen, I shall arise.' We paid a price but we took the war to them. We were victorious over those who sought our ruin. With G-d's help, we ensured the eternity of Israel."

He continued, "My friends, the Tanakh is the source of life for us. From it we draw eternal values. The roots of our identity are grounded in the Tanakh, as is our right to the Land of Israel. The link to the chain of generations is based in the book of books."

"A direct line joins what is written in the Book of Nehemiah to the current war: 'Fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your houses.' And here is another link, in the Book of Joel : 'Run like mighty men, they climb the wall like men of war.' Thanks to our heroic fighters, our state has a defensive wall.

"I turn to you, contestants from Israel and the Diaspora: Continue to spread love of the Tanakh. Continue to study. Continue to teach others."

On a personal note, Netanyahu said, "I am always proud of you; this is also a tradition in my family. My wife Sara's father, Shmuel Ben-Artzi of blessed memory, was an educator and Tanakh teacher who imbued many generations of students with love of the Tanakh."

"Dear Shmuel turned our son Avner into a real lover of the Tanakh. Avner also participated in the Bible Quiz, this quiz, when he was 15 and a pupil at the Hebrew University Secondary School. Avner was Israel's national Bible champion and was the second runner-up to the champion in the International Quiz.

"We will all continue to draw strength and spirit from the Tanakh. We will continue to love and study the Tanakh.

"Happy Independence Day and the main thing – be strong, be strong and let us strengthen each other."

credit: רונן חורש לע"מ
credit: רונן חורש לע"מ
credit: רונן חורש לע"מ
credit: רונן חורש לע"מ
credit: רונן חורש לע"מ
credit: רונן חורש לע"מ