Close call for bible contestants

May 7, 2012 by Joshua Cole
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Facing competition from around the globe, Australians Zahava Rosenblum and Matthew Lichtig finished strongly at Chidon HaTanach, the International Bible Contest, in Israel.

Zahava (far left) sits 3 spots away from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Zahava, a St Kilda East-based student at the Beth Rivkah Ladies’ College, was one point shy of making the grand final after taking the written quiz with Matthew one point behind her.

Zahava qualified for the Diaspora Final, where she finished sixth. The Diaspora Final pits the top competitors from each country outside of Israel against each other.

“I now have a global connection to Israel that links me to all of the top brains in the world whilst enjoying the amazing experience of the Tanach Camp with hikes and tiyulim plus visits to Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres. Thanks to the ZFA for making this possible,” said North Caulfield-based Matthew who is a pupil at Leibler Yavneh College.

In addition to competing in the quizzes, competitors spent two weeks on an intensive program touring all over Israel, meeting dignitaries including visits to the offices of the Prime Minister and the IDF Chief of Staff, and making lifelong connections with other young scholars from across the world. Zahava shared a room with Canadian, Romanian and Dutch girls.

“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,” said Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in address to participants.. “This is your country. This is your story. This is your heritage. I call on you to translate the Bible not into foreign languages but into actions. I would like you to come and live here and, as Jewish young people, to become part of history. Come here and succeed.”

Israel Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar also addressed the competitors.

“You are very young, but you have a big advantage – the knowledge and proficiency in the books of the Bible. This is the most important asset you have, because you know who you are and what your identity is,” Sa’ar said. “What united the people of Israel throughout the generations is our heritage and above all the Bible.”

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