Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Only in Israel: Bedouin Teacher Enters National Bible Contest

Israel: What a country.

After a 29 year hiatus, Israel is rebooting the National Bible Contest, for adults. The Education Ministry has radio ads running on the major stations;

"Lots were drawn, and he was chosen...if you think you know the answer, why not participate in the National Bible Contest for Adults"

The response is overwhelming: Over 1,650 people have registered so far!
Contestants will be divided into seven districts around Israel, including one designated for IDF soldiers. A written test will be held in mid-July to determine 14 winners from each district who will move on to the regional competition. At the second stage, each district will hold a local race for two spots. A total of 14 contestants will participate in the national contest to be held during the holiday of Hanukkah. The winner and his two runner-ups will move on to the international contest which will be held in 2011. (YNET)
And now, Shadi Abu Arar, a Bedouin Hebrew literature teacher has registered to participate in the National Bible Contest for adults as well.

YNET reports on this story:
Abu Arar has been preparing for the competition since the announcement was made and has enlisted the held of a Jewish Bible teacher from Dimona. "I have been drawn to the Bible since I was a kid," he explained. "I find many common points between the Bible and the Quran. As far as I'm concerned the study of the Bible doesn't replace or contradicts the Quran. The Ten Commandments, for instance, also appear in the Quran.
"As someone who endorses co-existence between Jews and Arabs I think that everyone should get to know the other's culture and holy writings, and this is what I am doing."
Abu Arar noted that he also incorporates Bible studies in his Hebrew literature classes for Arab children. "The final exam includes questions on such books as Proverbs, Ruth, Pirkei Avot ans Genesis."
However, it quickly turned out not everyone shared his enthusiasm with the contest. Various elements, some from the Bedouin education system, claimed he was denying the Quran. "Many people were mad at me," he said. "But I'm doing it out of firm belief. I tried to explain and told them that historically the Bible is the first book, which cannot be denied, but it didn't help."
His students, too, were baffled by his decision but became avid supporters after he explained his stance. "I told my students: 'Do you think your teacher would do something that is wrong?' and now they're all rooting for me to make it to finals," the proud teacher said.
I would be willing to wager that Abu Arar knows Tanach/Bible better than most Israelis...and Yeshiva students.

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Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד


Kovi said...

yea, that's true. one reason I got so frustrated with the whole yeshiva system was their near-complete disregard for tanach, which is the foundation of our religion. i find the overwhelming and exclusive focus we put on studying gemara, which simply explores the details of some of the finer points of technical law given over in tanach, ludicrous, compared to how much we ignore what should be our top priority in Jewish studies. It's sad that a christian missionary can come up to a kid who's been learning in Yeshivas for 20 years and posit to him a posuk from Yishayahu, and the kid has to respond, I can't speak to that, I never read that.

Shilton HaSechel said...

"I told my students: 'Do you think your teacher would do something that is wrong?'

Lol is it really that easy

NormanF said...

An Arab who respects the Torah. How much the same can be said for many Israeli Jews who have seldom read it? It takes a righteous man to awaken the Jews to discovering how they have shunned their rich heritage!

The back of the hill said...

How much the same can be said for many Israeli Jews who have seldom read it?

Ah, but you see, if they had read it, they would realize that the pre-king period was filled with murder, sex, and robbery, Dovid hamelech was a sociopathic ethically deprived moral bankruptee who sent the husband of his mistress to the front to get whacked, and the Shir ha Shirim is some darn fine erotic poetry.

Heck, even that part about the revenge taken by Dinah's brothers against Shechem is rather foul, and might disturb their sleep, if they were teenagers.

We can't have that. Society would collapse.

Gee a Moron said...

and that Kovi is why no honorable Yeshiva student learns Tanach...

yoni r. said...

I think the "Only in Israel" in the title is taking it a bit too far. I'd wager that every country in the world with a National Bible Contest has a Druze participating.

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