From the original 100 contestants who participated in the first and second qualifying rounds, 15 finalists reached this last stage, filled with enthusiasm, anticipation and excitement – and quite a few nervous wobblies as well! They came from King David Linksfield High School, King David Victory Park High School, Yeshiva Boys High School, Torah Academy and Hirsch Lyons Boys High School.
Prior to the start of the event, the capacity audience was addressed by Professor Moshe Arens, visiting SA at the invitation of Likud and the SAZF; Deputy Israeli Ambassador Michael Freeman, who arrived in Pretoria from Israel to take up his post in July; and SAZF Chairman Avrom Krengel. All three were inspiring speakers not only for the audience but for the contestants as well, who took good note of what advice was given them.
The quiz was extremely well-executed and professionally run by perennial question master Doron Klein, former director of the Israel Centre and now deputy Director of Telfed Israel. Doron was in South Africa to participate in the Israel Centre’s Israel Expo; and having been such a successful question master in the past, he was delighted to fill the position yet again.
The questions ranged from reasonably fair to rather difficult, but all the participants were well versed and knowledgeable, and generally astonished the audience with their answers. They were challenged and questioned and at times put onto the back foot, but they conducted themselves with dignity and self-control, ensuring that the proceedings ran smoothly all the time. Judges Shimon Shamila, Ori Leizer and Bev Goldman were well equipped to make the correct decisions and unanimously proclaim the winners.
The Israeli Centre director (Shimon Shamila) and his staff worked tirelessly to ensure the success of the evening; and congratulations are extended to all 15 young people who managed to study the most comprehensive and very long syllabus, replete with numerous names, dates, times, historical and current facts, music and photographs, well enough to be able to conduct themselves with pride.
Dorron Joffe of Torah Academy won the trophy, followed by Hirsch Lyon’s Moshe Wolberg in second place and third-placed Yossi Bank of KD Victory Park. Worthy winners all, they set wonderful examples to their siblings and school friends and we look forward to their continued interest in all things Zionist, Jewish and Israel-related.