Israeli teenager Azriel Shilat won Thursday’s International Bible Quiz for Youth, which is held every year on Independence Day.
Shilat, 17, from the northern town of Hatzor Haglilit, last month won the National Bible Quiz for Youth in State-Religious Schools.
“I’m very excited,” Shilat said. “I never thought I would be able to win the Bible Quiz.”
He said that he had only begun preparing for the quiz six months ago, and that he hoped to be an inspiration to others. “To those who want to compete, I say don’t ever give up. Even when it is difficult just keep going.”
He is the eldest of 10 children and a student in Shomria Yeshiva.
מזל טוב עזריאל!
מזל טוב חצור הגלילית!
מזל טוב ישראל! ????????
עזריאל, בקיאותך וסקרנותך הובילו אותך לזכות בתואר הנכסף: זוכה חידון התנ״ך העולמי לנוער יהודי!
יִשְׂרָאֵל אֲשֶׁר בְּךָ אֶתְפָּאָר – זה אתה. pic.twitter.com/VYyGezfB6G
— Naftali Bennett בנט (@naftalibennett) April 19, 2018
The runner-up was Oriah Cohen, from the northern city of Haifa.
Unusually, all of the final four finalists were Israelis. The final 16 round, in addition to the Israelis, included three from the United States, three from Mexico, two from Australia, one contestant from Panama, one from Argentina, and a brother and sister team from South Africa — Yosef Dov and Ruchama Katz.
Sintayehu Shafrao, an 18-year-old Ethiopian Jew who on Monday was given Israeli citizenship after reportedly being asked to deposit thousands of shekels as a guarantee he would leave Israel when the contest was over, did not finish in the top 16 of the contest.
As in previous years, the quiz was hosted by Avshalom Kor, who on Wednesday night lit one of the 12 torches at the main Independence Day ceremony.
Among the dignitaries attending were Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, Education Minister Naftali Bennett, and Chairman of the Jewish Agency Natan Sharansky.