Netanyahu to Bible Students: Come Live in Israel

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Nowadays, the Bible is often discredited and its message removed from the public eye, but in Israel the government is making sure the next generation knows the Word of God is important in the Land of the Bible.

Dozens of Jewish teenagers from Israel, the U.S. and around the world came to Jerusalem to compete in the International Bible Quiz this year.

Israel's first Prime Minister David Ben Gurion started the competition. It's held on Independence Day each year and questions are asked in Hebrew, with translation if necessary.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with the contestants at his office and was surprised to find out that many didn't speak Hebrew.

"When you read the Bible, you read in what language?" he asked. "Spanish? Oy! Okay, that has to be corrected."

Switching back to Hebrew, Netanyahu said it was okay to read the Bible in a translation but it's not as good.

And switching back in English, he said, "I want you to learn Hebrew. And I want you to come to Israel because you know the Bible -- the Tanach [Old Testament] is not an abstract book. You know it's about a real place, real people, wondrous people," he said.

Netanyahu says he studies the Bible with his sons on the Sabbath. His son Avner took third place in the competition two years ago.

"It's your Land. It's your Book. It's your heritage. It's your people," Netanyahu told the contestants. "So I want you to translate the Bible, not into English, but into action."

The young people were excited to be in Israel.

"It's amazing. Everything is really [on this] amazing trip and [to] meet all the people and I've been here and Netanyahu's like amazing," one contestant from Holland told CBN News.

"It's not my first time in Israel but now that I've studied the Bible and I've seen many places that are actually in the Bible, it's great seeing for real what you've studied," another contestant from Mexico said.

But Netanyahu told the group it's not enough to just visit.

"I want you to actually come and live here because this is a great adventure. It gives an opportunity for you as young Jews to be part of Jewish history and to make Jewish history," he said.

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CBN News
Chris Mitchell and Julie Stahl

Chris Mitchell and Julie Stahl

CBN News Jerusalem Bureau

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