Israel’s annual International Bible Contest was held on Tuesday in Jerusalem, with 58 young people from 26 countries taking part in all stages of the international contest, including Turkey, the United States, Brazil, South Africa and Germany. This year’s results yielded a surprise, with two winners instead of one: Yishai Eisenberg, 15, an American Jew, and Elior Babian, 16, an Israeli from Beit Shemesh.
Eisenberg hails from Passaic, NJ, and is a student of Yeshivat Beit Hillel of Passaic-Hillel. Babian attends the Shaalei Torah yeshiva high school in Beit Shemesh.
In the final head-to-head battle, both contestants repeatedly completed verses from the Bible with success. Eisenberg was asked to complete the verse, “The king establishes the land by justice.”
“But he who receives bribes overthrows it,” Eisenberg said to complete the verse from Proverbs.
Babian was asked to complete another verse from Proverbs, “Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint.”
“But happy is he who keeps the law,” Babian answered, correctly.
When the increasingly difficult questions failed to trip up either contestant, the panel of judges at first called for a three-question tiebreaker. But ultimately, the panel of judges decided that both had displayed such extraordinary knowledge that Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein had no choice but to crown them both laureates. Second-place was taken by Liora Braverman of Petach Tikva.
“Our amazement at the wonderful mastery of Bible verses plants a great hope in each of our hearts,” said Israeli Education Minister Rabbi Shai Peron.
“It raises the expectation that these verses and chapters will turn into your road map,” he said.
A video can be viewed below: