Saturday, February 16, 2008

Israeli Arab Woman Applying for ID Says she's Sybil Sage

Mariam Amash, an Israeli Arab who recently applied for a new Israeli identity card, said she was born 120 years ago, which, if true, would make her the oldest person in the world, six years older than the women currently listed in The Guinness Book of Records.

Proof of her age was requested from Israel's Interior Ministry, which confirmed that the woman from the Israeli Arab village of Jisr a-Zarka is, indeed, listed in the population registry as having been born in 1888, but they don't fully trust her birth certificate, which had been issued by Turkish authorities who'd ruled the region in 1888.

Relatives said Amash has 10 sons and one daughter, about 120 grandchildren, 250 great-grandchildren and 20 great-great grandchildren. If they all testify to her age, wouldn't that be enough? How often have women been known to tack on years?

A Guinness spokeswoman in London said multiple documents would be required to back up a birth certificate, such as the birth certificates of a spouse and children, death certificates, school certificates and medical examinations. Or maybe there's a record of Amash's birthday in those caves where they found the Dead Sea Scrolls?