On Tuesday evening the Ministry of Education held the national bible quiz for adults. Out of an initial 1,000 contestants 12 finalists faced off in the quiz attended by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Education Minister Shai Piron (Yesh Atid) and Director General of the Education Ministry Michal Cohen.
The winner was Menachem Shamshi of the Samaria (Shomron) town of Elon Moreh. Hanenel Malka of Or Akiva took second place, while Yoram Gold of Be'er Sheva took third.
Speaking before the contest, Netanyahu said "only roots planted deeply in the past will ensure our national future." While the bible is an ancient holy text, Netanyahu remarked that "with our own hands we are writing the next chapters in the fascinating story of our people."
The contestants competed for the coveted title of adult Tanach (Bible, Prophets and Writings) quiz champion, which was determined in four rounds of questions.
The first round is entitled "the other is me," the second stage involves questions together with a computer game, the third is identified as "the Prime Minister's question," while the final round is a head-to-head competition between the top two contestants.
Winner of the contest's first place will receive 30,000 shekels ($8,522), second place will win 20,000 shekels ($5,681), while the third place winner will receive 10,000 shekels ($2,842).
Two of the contestants were residents of Samaria, while another hails from the Golan Heights.
"This year the quiz is themed 'love thy neighbor as thyself' and 'the other is me.' This emphasizes not only acceptance of the convert, but also acceptance of one who is different. ...We members of (the Jewish) people understand and feel in the depths of our hearts the human cooperation and unity before G-d," commented Netanyahu.
The Prime Minister added that "we must break down walls and lower dividers to arrive first of all from within our people to a situation of togetherness among the tribes of Israel."
Education Minister Piron said the Bible needs to be "the road map of every leader and family, to be a part of the conscience of every manager. The Bible cannot become a dry study material."
Piron added that the Bible is "the essence of life, the beating heart, the center of our lives, and the moment that we forget the meaning, the depth and the eternalness of the Bible, we will greatly miss our target."
In April, during the World Youth Bible Quiz, Piron told contestants he was "immensely jealous" of them, calling them "cultural heroes."
Meanwhile in April 2012, Netanyahu told contestants of the International Bible Quiz that they should immigrate to Israel, saying "the story of the Bible is not a simple story. It is a real story that occurred in real places and involved exemplary people like the prophet Isaiah, King David and many others. This is your country. This is your story. This is your heritage."