When God set down His ideal age limit in the Bible at 120, he may have had this man in mind: Holocaust survivor Yisrael Kristal of Haifa has been recognized as the oldest man alive today by the Guinness Book of World Records, reported Ynet.
Kristal, 112, was born in Poland in 1903. He was a married father of two when the Holocaust began. His children succumbed to illness in the Lodz Ghetto and his wife perished during a death march to Auschwitz, but Kristal survived making chocolates and other sweets for the Nazis.
Following the war, Kristal met Bat-Sheva, another survivor whose family had perished, and the two married, moving to Israel in 1950. They had three children, one of whom died in infancy.
Today, Kristal is a grandfather of nine and great-grandfather of many more.
According to the paper, Kristal received Guinness’s recognition with restraint. His daughter, Shulamit Kuperstoch, noted this is in keeping with his character.
“He’s a man who knows what it means to be on top and what it means to barely exist,” she explained. “For a man who lost his entire family in the Holocaust, his proportions are different.”
Kristal attributes his longevity to God.
“My father is a religious man who observes the commandments and prays every morning,” said Kuperstoch. “In my opinion, what has kept him going all these years is optimism. When something bad happens, he always says, ‘It could have been worse.’”
Kristal celebrates his 113th birthday in September. He attained the distinction of being the oldest man alive when a Japanese supercentenarian of the same age passed away earlier this year. Kristal’s family spent the past two months gathering documentation to prove their father’s claim.
Should he reach 116, Kristal will earn the record for oldest man in modern recorded history. The Bible identifies Methuselah, at 969, as the oldest individual to ever have lived (Genesis 5:27).