Hidon Ha-Tanach: Israel's Bible Competition on Yom Ha'atzmaut

A people and a book.

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Recent History

The competition today continues to be a site of identity politics. In 2008, on the state's 60th anniversary, Israeli society experienced a furor over the possibility of a victory by an adherent of the Jews for Jesus community in Israel, leading some religious Jews to call for a boycott of the event. In 2009, both winner and runner up were from the West Bank and the "Groom of the Bible" presented Benjamin Netanyahu with a request to expand efforts for Jonathan Pollard's release. The Hidon persists as a symbol of Zionist aspirations and as a site of conflict over the culture and spirit of the state: Israel and the diaspora, Jews and non-Jews, religious and secular.

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Joshua Teplitsky is a doctoral candidate at New York University in the departments of History and Hebrew & Judaic Studies. His research focuses on the Jewish experience in early modern Prague, and the culture of Jews in early modern Europe more generally.