Former Prisoner of Zion Yosef Mendelevitch has cancelled his participation in Israel's International Bible Contest for Jewish Youth on Independence Day. The announcement was made after authorities decided to allow a Jewish-born girl who now believes in the Christian faith to participate as a contestant.
The 17 year-old girl won the Jerusalem region bible contest for secular public schools, entitling her to participate in the bible contest finals.
Each year, important figures are invited to the bible contest event to be introduced to the young contestants and ask one of the quiz questions. Organizers planned to show a short movie featuring Mendelevitch's struggle against the Russian authorities to immigrate to Israel. Mendelevitch was jailed for 11 years in Russia for his pro-Israel activism. Following the movie, the prisoner of Zion was to pose a quiz question.
When the Ministry of Education refused to disqualify the Christian contestant in Israel's landmark event for Jewish education, Mendelevitch informed the organizers that he would not be there and forbade them to show his video.
"I refuse to support an event which is being hijacked by Christian missionaries to support their agenda," he said. "It is not an issue of public relations, rather a matter of principle."