World Bible Quiz Champ Asks to Give His Prize to Runner-up

The winner of the annual World Bible Quiz yesterday amazed the judges when he asked that the prize be awarded to the runner-up after he discovered that one of his answers was partially incorrect. Yishai Gaspan, 17, a yeshiva student from Jerusalem and Israel's National Bible Quiz champion, said he mispronounced the name of an Assyrian king and asked that points be detracted from his score.

Bible Quiz judge Yitzhak Navon, who was Israel's fifth president, rejected Gaspan's request and said he displayed exceptional knowledge of the Bible. Navon said the correct answer had been "king of Assirya," and the name had not been required.

The first runner-up is Tamar Kronman, from Be'er Sheva, a student at a girls' religious high school. The second runner-up is Tzuriel Shoshan, also from Be'er Sheva. The first-prize winner for Diaspora contestants is Yakir Forman from the United States.

Gaspan is the great-grandson of Professor M.Z. Segal, who founded the Bible chair at Hebrew University before the founding of the state. Some 64 youths from 35 countries participated in the World Bible Quiz, traditionally held on Independence Day.

For the first time in the quiz's 44-year history, representatives from Colombia, Macedonia and Peru took part.