Inside America’s Biggest Teen Bible Contest

Last month, 325 middle- and high-school students gathered in the Bronx to take part in a massive, nationwide biblical-trivia competition. The four winners will go on to the international contest in Israel. Olivia Reingold reports:

Each year, dozens of countries participate in the international Chidon Ha-Tanach, but since 1958, when Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, founded the contest, Israelis have won 57 out of the 60 years it’s been held. . . . American contestants have been victorious just four times—and two of those were ties with an Israeli. (The only other champion from another country was Canadian, crowned in 2014.)

The test includes puzzlers such as: About whom is it said: “A hairy man with a leather belt tied around his waist”? (Answer: Elijah), and Which of the following does not relate to the number 70? (Answer: number of kindred killed by Athalia.)

Statistics show that the younger you are, the less likely you are to read the Bible (either testament). Each new generation of American Jews seems to grow less connected to its faith, with the latest data showing that Jews in the U.S. are about half as likely as Christians to say religion is “very important” to them. But the kids gathered in this gym are more likely to carry a copy of the Hebrew Bible than a smartphone.

Read more at Free Press

More about: American Judaism, David Ben-Gurion, Hebrew Bible

Hizballah Is Learning Israel’s Weak Spots

On Tuesday, a Hizballah drone attack injured three people in northern Israel. The next day, another attack, targeting an IDF base, injured eighteen people, six of them seriously, in Arab al-Amshe, also in the north. This second attack involved the simultaneous use of drones carrying explosives and guided antitank missiles. In both cases, the defensive systems that performed so successfully last weekend failed to stop the drones and missiles. Ron Ben-Yishai has a straightforward explanation as to why: the Lebanon-backed terrorist group is getting better at evading Israel defenses. He explains the three basis systems used to pilot these unmanned aircraft, and their practical effects:

These systems allow drones to act similarly to fighter jets, using “dead zones”—areas not visible to radar or other optical detection—to approach targets. They fly low initially, then ascend just before crashing and detonating on the target. The terrain of southern Lebanon is particularly conducive to such attacks.

But this requires skills that the terror group has honed over months of fighting against Israel. The latest attacks involved a large drone capable of carrying over 50 kg (110 lbs.) of explosives. The terrorists have likely analyzed Israel’s alert and interception systems, recognizing that shooting down their drones requires early detection to allow sufficient time for launching interceptors.

The IDF tries to detect any incoming drones on its radar, as it had done prior to the war. Despite Hizballah’s learning curve, the IDF’s technological edge offers an advantage. However, the military must recognize that any measure it takes is quickly observed and analyzed, and even the most effective defenses can be incomplete. The terrain near the Lebanon-Israel border continues to pose a challenge, necessitating technological solutions and significant financial investment.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Hizballah, Iron Dome, Israeli Security