Israel PM Netanyahu Hosts Bible Study

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has revived a decades-old tradition: Bible study at the Prime Minister's house.

The Prime Minister opened the first session of the "Bible Study Club" at his official Jerusalem residence.

"We're studying the Bible and the Bible is the book of the Jewish people, but also the book of universal values," Netanyahu said. "It's the story of the Jewish people and it expresses the hope that we will return to this land."

Netanyahu has revived a tradition started by Israel's first Prime Minister David Ben Gurion.

"I think in many ways it's a parable for humanity because if the Jewish people we're able through this vast odyssey in time to ford all the rivers, to cross the chasm of annihilation, and to come back to our ancestral homeland, to rebuild our lives, this means there's hope for all humanity," Netanyhu told the group.

Netanyahu asked Jewish Bible teacher Micah Goodman to lead the session.

"I communicate Biblical stories and Biblical ideas and how the Bible could guide us in very sophiscticated, modern challenges of Jewish sovereignty in Israel, we have to communicate that to secular Israelis and to religious Israelis," Goodman said.

Goodman told participants that they were there to try to uncover the secrets of the book of the Jewish people.

Netanyahu, his wife, Sarah, and more than a dozen rabbis and scholars studied the book of Ruth from the Jewish scriptures, known to Christians as the Old Testament.

"I thought I was going to lead the conversation but it turns out that our Prime Minister is quite an intellectual and he doesn't only have what to say, he's got some very interesting things to say and he asked me very tough questions," Goodman told CBN News.

Goodman also said that as the leader of the Jewish people in a volatile Middle East, Netanyahu needs a refuge from time to time.

"He escaped to the Bible, to something that's beyond time, beyond politics, beyond the day to day. And diving into this great text and dealing with these great ideas, somehow, he felt like it was a breath of fresh air for him," Goodman explained.

Netanyahu said he studies the Hebrew Bible with his sons every sabbath. Two years ago, his younger son, Avner, placed third in the Annual International Bible Competition held in Jerusalem.

Goodman said that Netanyahu told the group that when he reads the Bible, he's always shocked at how relevant it is.

"And so we're studying our map and our compass and our foundation, the Bible," Netanyahu concluded. "And you're all welcome to join us, especially if you can learn Hebrew."

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Julie Stahl

Julie Stahl

CBN News Jerusalem Correspondent

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