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The finals of the annual International Bible Contest yesterday aroused unusual excitement in the Prime Minister's Office this year, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's 15-year-old son, Avner, made it into the finals.

In the end, Netanyahu's son placed third after failing to correctly answer the final question - traditionally posed by the prime minister himself.

The winner was Or Ashuel, 17, of Kfar Sava, whose father Shimon won the contest 27 years ago. Second place went to Elad Nachshon of Rehovot.

Though Ashuel studies at a religious school, both Nachshon and Netanyahu attend secular schools with less emphasis on Bible studies.

The preliminary round featured 46 teens from both Israel and abroad, of whom 16 advanced to the first round. Of these, eight advanced to the second round, which ended with Avner and the younger Netanyahu tied for first place. But come the final question, traditionally asked by the prime minister, his son's answer was only partially correct.

Normally, the premier is allowed to choose the question himself. But in this case, due to his son's participation, it was written by Neria Pinhasi, who devised the other questions, and was handed to Netanyahu in a sealed envelope.

"I'm in a unique position in this contest," Netanyahu said before reading it. "I'm here as both prime minister and a father."

Noting that Israel's first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, termed the Bible "the foundation of our existence," Netanyahu said he was pleased to see that it is "again becoming the Book of Books of all the people of Israel."

At the event, Netanyahu and Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar also announced that they plan to reinstate the international Bible contest for adults, which was ended about three decades ago. The revived contest is slated to take place during the Hanukkah holiday in December.