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Yair (L) and Avner Netanyahu, the sons of Incoming Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, applaud during the session swearing-in their father's new coalition government in the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, on March 31, 2009 in Jerusalem. Netanyahu announced his new government and outlined its plans to solve the economic crisis and make peace with the Arabs. (UPI Photo/David Silverman/ POOL) Photo via Newscom Photo via Newscom

There’s little relaxing as prime minister of Israel, but Benjamin Netanyahu told Larry King he values the Sabbath and takes time every Saturday to read the Bible with his son Avner, who finished third in the recent international Jewish Bible quizzing contest.

King asked Netanyahu on the CNN host’s Wednesday program, “You live in the center of a hostile world. Are you ever able to really relax?”

Netanyahu immediately referred to the Sabbath.

“It’s a very good idea that this institution was brought into the world,” he said, noting he takes an hour and a half each Saturday to read with his 15-year-old son.

“I relax then. I draw a lot of spiritual strength,” the prime minister told King. “You know, I used to teach him. He is now 15. But in the last couple of years, he teaches me. So, yes, I draw enormous reservoirs of strength and I think that is needed for all leaders, but especially for the leaders of Israel.”

In February, Avner Netanyahu, scoring 98 out of 100, defeated 50 other high-schoolers to represent Jerusalem in the International Bible Contest in April, held at the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem, the Assist News Service reported.

When Avner won the regional contest in February, the Netanyahu family was invited to the stage to congratulate him and join the judges in leading the singing of “HaTikvah”, Israel National News reported at the time.

The international competition in Jerusalem is one of the highlights of Israel’s annual Independence Day celebrations. It includes a question asked by Prime Minister Netanyahu himself.

After answering two questions correctly, Avner stumbled on the third question, which was asked by his father. His partial answer prevented him from advancing to the final head-to-head round.

Avner is the latest in a long family line to win recognition for Bible knowledge, Israel National News reported. His mother Sarah’s three brothers have scored high in previous contests.

The objective of the contest is to encourage interest and study among youth in the Bible as the cultural basis of the nation of Israel.

The theme for this year’s contest, the 47th, was the revival of the Hebrew language.

During the April contest, Netanyahu and Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar announced that the adult international Bible contest would be revived for the first time in 30 years, the Israeli national paper Haaretz reported.

“As Ben Gurion said, the basis of our existence is the Bible,” Netanyahu said.

The chairman of the panel of judges, former Israeli President Yitzhak Navon, said, according to YnetNews.com, “The Jewish people created the Bible, but the Bible also created the Jewish people. We wouldn’t be who we are without it, not a people and probably not a religion.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu said at the end of the competition, “I was very excited together with my wife for our son. It’s only natural.”


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