Netanyahu to Host Home Bible Study

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plans to revive the tradition of hosting a regular Bible study.

He made the announcement at a ceremony marking 30 days since the death of his father-in-law Shmuel Ben-Artzi. The Bible study will be named for Ben-Artzi - a noted poet and Bible teacher.

Netanyahu will not be the first Israeli prime minister to host Bible classes. Both Israel's first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion as well as Menachem Begin held regular Bible study groups.

Researchers, public figures, and citizens will be invited to the Bible study, which will be held at his official residence.

At a memorial ceremony for Ben-Gurion earlier this month, Netanyahu spoke about the first premier's bible study, in which Ben-Artzi played an "active role."

"Ben-Gurion understood that the Book of Books is our mandate for our country, as he said in that same unforgettable statement before the Peel Commission in 1936," Netanyahu said.

London sent the Peel Commission -- a royal commission of inquiry - to examine the roots of the Arab-Jewish conflict in the 1930s and to come up with solutions. During a tour of the area in 1937, Ben-Gurion told them that the Bible was the Jewish people's "mandate."

"He viewed the Bible as the wondrous story of the Jewish people, the unique spiritual, cultural and historic heritage of our people, and also as one of the cornerstones of all of human culture," Netanyahu said.

"Ben-Gurion believed that every boy and girl in Israel must learn the Bible; they must be familiar with it and draw inspiration from it - from its cultural, linguistic and spiritual treasures," he said.

A sign that the Bible is important in Netanyahu's family -- his younger son Avner came in third place in the international Bible quiz last year held in Jerusalem on Israel's Independence Day. Earlier that year, Avner won Israel's national Bible quiz.

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