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Bible contest to feature ‘Rachel from Ofakim,’ who faced down terrorists on Oct. 7

“The contest will be impactful, empowering and unifying—what the country needs now,” says Gur Rosenblat, deputy director of the Education Ministry.

Rachel Edri, or "Rachel from Ofakim," who fended off Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7 by talking to them and baking cookies. Credit: Courtesy.
Rachel Edri, or "Rachel from Ofakim," who fended off Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7 by talking to them and baking cookies. Credit: Courtesy.

The International Bible Contest, an Israeli Independence Day tradition that features contestants from all over the world, will be held at the Jerusalem Theater on Tuesday with 16 youths competing—12 from the Diaspora and four from Israel.

All will vie for the title of World Bible Champion. The final list of contestants was determined through a qualifying exam held during a Bible camp preceding the event. As part of that process, contestants tour the country, meet figures such as Chief Rabbi David Lau, and visit Yad Vashem and the Western Wall in Jerusalem, in addition to other heritage and national sites.

This year, in light of “Operation Swords of Iron,” the event will focus on the theme of war. It will also feature a performance by children from communities around the Gaza border, singing with artist Yagel Oshri.

Judges will include Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana; Iris Haim (mother of hostage Yotam Haim, who was killed by “friendly fire” in the Gaza Strip); Rabbi Yemima Mizrahi; chairman of the Jewish Agency Maj. Gen. (Res.) Doron Almog; and World Zionist Organization chair Yaakov Hagoel.

International Bible Quiz
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with winners of the Bible Quiz at the annual Bible Quiz held at the Jerusalem Theatre on Israel’s Independence Day, on April 26, 2023. Photo by Shalev Shalom/POOL.

Gur Rosenblat, deputy director of the Education Ministry overseeing the event, described the preparations in an interview with Israel Hayom: “The quiz will focus on courage and revival this year; this will be reflected in the questions themselves and how they’re asked. We’ve prepared videos, and some questions will be asked by Rachel Edri, known colloquially as “Rachel from Ofakim” after she fought off terrorists on Oct. 7 by baking cookies; public diplomacy activist Yoseph Haddad; a senior reserve officer who teaches at a pre-military academy; and a representative of the Druze community. Yigal Oshri will sing his song ‘Leaving Depression’ with children from around Gaza.”

Rosenblat said the overseas contestants arrived last week: “Their families showed extraordinary resilience, sending their children and expressing full confidence in Israel’s ability to protect them.”

On holding the global quiz during wartime, he stressed: “The contest will be impactful, empowering and unifying—what the country needs now. It will be a different kind of Bible contest that preserves the connection to the Bible while reflecting what’s happening in Israel. We’ve worked six months on this. Nothing connects the Jewish people in Israel and the Diaspora like this contest.”

Education Minister Yoav Kisch said: “Especially in these complex times for Israel, we chose to hold the quiz focused on Jewish courage and to host students from the Diaspora for the 76th Independence Day. The Bible is the book of books, expressing the history and roots of the Jewish people, and proving our attachment and settlement in the Land of Israel.”

Originally published by Israel Hayom.

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