Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
The Ambassador of the State of Israel to Nigeria, Shimon Ben-Shoshan, has said that Nigeria and Israel will turn challenges into opportunities.
Ben-Shoshan gave the assurance during the flag-off ceremony of the Third National Old Testament Bible Contest in Nigeria.
The event which took place in Abuja is one of the events commemorating the 60 years of diplomatic relations and friendship between the State of Israel and the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Ben-Shoshan recalled that during the 2019 National Bible Contest, there was a number of participants across the country.
The Israeli envoy said the development was definitely because many Nigerians share a keen interest in the history and knowledge of the Old Testament.
Ben-Shoshan added that the three winners of the 2019 contest had the opportunity to visit Israel, tour across the country, visited holy sites and experienced first hand, places they had learned about from the reading, practising and studying the Bible.
“This year, we are commemorating the 60 years of diplomatic relations and friendship between the State of Israel and the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Therefore, brothers and sisters, the theme for this year is: ‘Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to work together in unity.’
“Yes, together in peace and unity, we will succeed in turning challenges into opportunities,” Ben-Shoshan said.
Ben-Shoshan further said over the years, the Bible contest assisted in bringing people of various background together while stressing the importance of Biblical education.
“I believe that holding a countrywide Bible competition in all six geopolitical zones can serve as a cultural bridge between our two peoples – Nigerians and Israelis,” Ben-Shoshn also said.
Tracing the history of the contest, Ben-Shoshan said the Bible contest was launched in 1958 by Israel’s Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, adding that it was first broadcasted 62 years ago.
“And since then, Israelis have followed the competition with a sense of pride and commitment. I see the same enthusiasm in Nigerians today,” the envoy added.
The contest holding in all states of the federation, according to Ben-Shoshan, is open to all candidates from the age of 80 above.
Ben-Shoshan further expressed the hope that the contest will challenge the minds and touch the hearts of many Nigerians, adding that bearing the theme in mind, he also hoped that the contest will further strengthen the kinship between Israel and Nigeria.
Also speaking, the General Secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Barr Joseph Daramola, said it was interesting to note how the tradition of the Bible study and the quiz initiated by the first Israeli Prime Minister is kept flourishing.