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


In the Aftermath of a Deadly Attack, President Sisi Should Visit Israel

On June 3, an Egyptian policeman crossed the border into Israel and killed three soldiers. Jonathan Schanzer and Natalie Ecanow urge President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to respond by visiting the Jewish state as a show of goodwill:

Such a dramatic gesture is not without precedent: in 1997, a Jordanian soldier opened fire on a group of Israeli schoolgirls visiting the “Isle of Peace,” a parcel of farmland previously under Israeli jurisdiction that Jordan leased back to Israel as part of the Oslo peace process. In a remarkable display of humanity, King Hussein of Jordan, who had only three years earlier signed a peace agreement with Israel, traveled to the Jewish state to mourn with the families of the seven girls who died in the massacre.

That massacre unfolded as a diplomatic cold front descended on Jerusalem and Amman. . . . Yet a week later, Hussein flipped the script. “I feel as if I have lost a child of my own,” Hussein lamented. He told the parents of one of the victims that the tragedy “affects us all as members of one family.”

While security cooperation [between Cairo and Jerusalem] remains strong, the bilateral relationship is still rather frosty outside the military domain. True normalization between the two nations is elusive. A survey in 2021 found that only 8 percent of Egyptians support “business or sports contacts” with Israel. With a visit to Israel, Sisi can move beyond the cold pragmatism that largely defines Egyptian-Israeli relations and recast himself as a world figure ready to embrace his diplomatic partners as human beings. At a personal level, the Egyptian leader can win international acclaim for such a move rather than criticism for his country’s poor human-rights record.

Read more at Washington Examiner

More about: General Sisi, Israeli Security, Jordan