Elkana Friedman from Israel won the annual International Bible Contest in Jerusalem, triumphing over 15 other contestants from all over the world. During his speech, Education Minister Naftali Bennett called upon the Israeli public to stop slandering itself.

Bennett, Friedman and Netanyahu

Bennett, Friedman and Netanyahu Photo Credit: Channel 1/Channel 2 News

14-year-old Elkana Friedman won the annual International Bible Contest in Jerusalem, which took place today (Thursday) in honor of Israel’s 68th Independence Day. Friedman defeated 15 other contestants from all over the world. The contest was attended by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, Education Minister Naftali Bennett, Chairman of the Jewish Agency Natan Sharansky and Director of the Education Ministry Michal Cohen.

Netanyahu congratulated Friedman and said: “I was just at a meeting with the outstanding IDF soldiers and asked what I desire for Israel’s future. I quickly replied: ‘Love of the land and love of the Tanakh (Jewish Bible).’” Netanyahu added that “these are the real principles that we stand upon and build [our] new future in [this] ancient land.”

16 contestants from 9 different countries participated in the final stage of the contest. Besides Israel, contestants came from Mexico, Australia, Argentina, Canada, South Africa, Belarus, France, and the US.


Bennett Photo Credit: PR/Channel 2 News

Bennett spoke during the ceremony and hinted at the controversial comments of IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Yair Golan: “I turn to each and every one of us- we love our country, so let’s end this festival of self-flagellation. Let’s get rid of these generalizations against our nation, which has been struggling for more than half a year against a horrible terror wave. Our amazing nation is doing this [standing up to terrorism] not in savage way but with dignity; not in an excessive manner but with a rare responsibility.”